Facets Cinémathèque

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June 30–July 6, 2017

Chicago Premiere

Radio Dreams

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FACETS FILM DIALOGUE with Narimon Safavi, Worldview WBEZ

Film still: Radio Dreams Film still: Radio Dreams
Critics' Pick
  —New York Times
"[A] quietly satisfying gem"
"Contrasting wavelengths of humor and seriousness come through with impressive clarity... a nuanced, intelligent and consistently droll take on hot-button subjects of immigration, identity and cultural assimilation"
  —Hollywood Reporter
"[Director Babak] Jalali peppers this darkly funny, often absurdist piece with enough socio-political messaging to add heft but not didacticism. It all makes for a singular, well-observed balancing act"
  —Los Angeles Times
"Christopher Guest-like antics help create a rich tension between fact and fiction that drives the film as it explores uncharted territory of the mockumentary"
  —Chicago Tribune

Radio Dreams follows a day in the life of Pars Radio, San Francisco's #1 Farsi-language broadcaster and home to a diverse sampling of the Iranian diaspora. Winner of the 45th Rotterdam International Film Festival's Tiger Award, it is the newest feature film from Iranian-British director Babak Jalali (Frontier Blues).

The station's program manager, Hamid Royani, a brilliant, misunderstood Iranian writer (played by the "Iranian Bob Dylan" Mohsen Namjoo), moved to the United States to pursue the American Dream, but finds himself working at a small Iranian radio station, seeing artistic satisfaction through the esoteric programming he puts together. Nevertheless, Hamid tries to sustain his artistic principles with programming that includes poetry, short stories, and regional music from Iran and its neighbors. In an ambitious undertaking that promises to unite art and commerce, Hamid has brought Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan's first rock band, and arranged for them to meet Metallica, their long-time idols, for an on-air jam session. Meanwhile, Hamid must juggle a dysfunctional mix of on-air talent, station managers, and performers while fending off the owner's plans to wrest control of the station.

With gentle humor and a deadpan eye towards cultural differences, Radio Dreams brings to life the sometimes bizarre experience of immigrants pursuing dreams in the U.S. Compassion and insight give a generous depth to this low-key, slow-burn comedy about immigration, integration, and identity.

Directed by Babak Jalali, U.S.A., 2016, 94 mins. In Farsi, English, Dari and Assyrian with English subtitles.

Narimon Safavi, a Chicago based Iranian-American entrepreneur who is also a contributor and analyst for the radio program Worldview on WBEZ will be here for a Q&A on Sunday, July 2 following the 3 p.m. screening.


  • Fri., June 30 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., July 1 at 1, 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., July 2 at 1, 3, 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., July 3–6 at 7 & 9 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation