Saturday, June 12, 2004
Last night was very MidEast: Turkish food, Arabic dance, and Iranian movie. We head down to Inwood village in anticipation of the highest grossing (and most controversial) film in Iranian history, Marmoolak (The Lizard). We first went to Cafe Istanbul, which is right behind the Inwood theater for some Turkish cuisine. They had great Beef Shishkabob but the Lamb was too greasy. I really enjoyed dinner. In the middle of our meal, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the restaurant had a bellydancer! She was very fit (thank God!) and was very talented. She could take a coin and move it around with her stomach muscles. Then she could lie down and put too teacups on her stomach, one full one empty. She then could pour the tea from one cup to the other without spilling using just her stomach muscles! Then she told a guy to drink from the cup while she still had it on her belly. It was great fun. She even danced to Ojos Asi! Finally, we head over to the Inwood theater to catch the film. It was by far one of the funniest movies I have ever seen! I have never laughed this hard during an Iranian film that wasn't a "Samad Agha" film or "Italia Italia." It was HI-larious! I loved the references to Spiderman and Quentin Tarantino, plus all the sexual references. Half of the laughter came from how the audience didn't expect to find those kinds of things in an Iranian film (the film was banned in Iran because of them), the other half came because they were genuinely funny. I don't know how much an American audience can appreciate this film though, but I would still encourage people to see one of the few great Iranian comedies.