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Series 5

Episode 1

Film critics Jason Solomons and Robbie Collin review Asghar Farhadi’s new film The Past. The historian and curator James Barber discusses the portrait artist Boris Chaliapin’s works made for the Time magazine, which are on display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The prominent Iranian artist Hossein Khosrojerdi, who received a Grand Prize of the Sharjah Biennial in 2001, speaks about his exhibition at the Bermondsey Project.

Episode 2

The dancer Marie-Gabrielle Rotie talks about Butoh, a type of dance which originated in Japan and was named the ‘dance of utter darkness’. The Japanese literature expert Stephen Dodd at SOAS University of London, talks about the best-selling Japanese writer Murakami and what makes him one of the world’s greatest living novelists.

Episode 3

A profile of a prominent Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli, who reflects on the 50 years of making sculpture, collecting artworks and teaching.

Episode 4

The Algerian singer Souad Massi who began her career performing in the Kabyle political rock band talks about her life and work on the occasion of her performance at the Barbican.

Film critic Nick James reviews the American romantic drama Before Midnight, which is a sequel to Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004).

Episode 5

An episode devoted to cultural impact of the Iran-Iraq war on film, literature and art.

Episode 66

A short profile of one of the most prolific and successful Iranian artists Aliakbar Sadeghi.

Director Haifaa al-Mansour speaks about filming Wadjda, which follows the story of a girl in Saudi Arabia who goes to great lengths to get a bicycle in a country where girls riding bicycles is looked down upon.

On the occasion of the release of the film Man of Steel, we look at the portrayals of heroes in US comics, and how racial and national stereotypes played a part in the development of these characters.

Episode 7

Professor Ahmad Karimi Hakkak talks about the impact of 1953 coup d'etat on Persian modern poetry.

A look at the work of Keith Haring, who was an artist and social activist who responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s by expressing concepts of birth, death and war.

Episode 8

A report about Iranian contemporary artist Reza Derakhshani as a new exhibition by him opens in London.

Film critic Jonathan Romney reviews the 1980s film Heaven’s Gate recently rereleased, which tells the story of immigrants to the US trying to settle in the western state of Wyoming in the 1890s.

A look at the legacy of the influential American modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham.

Episode 9

An investigation of the soundtracks of Iranian feature films. The film historian Hamid Naficy and graphic designer Reza Abedini, as well as musician Sheida Gharachehdaghi's and record producer Manouchehr Bibiyan reflect on the music that emerged from Iranian films from the early days of film until the Islamic Revolution.

Episode 10

Ibrahim El Salehi, a pioneer in Sudanese art reflects on his career talks about his exhibition at Tate Modern.

A look at the legacy of Albert Camus, who was born 100 years ago and contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism.

Episode 11

The France-based Iranian artist Nazanin Pouyandeh whose paintings invoke dreams, myths, and instinct talks about her influences.

Nick James picks his highlights of this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Episode 12

On the occasion of the anniversary of the end of the Iran-Iraq war, Touraj Atabaki contextualises the literature of the two prominent writers Shahriar Mandanipour and Ghazi Rabihavi. A look at one of the world’s earliest animations, Prince Achmed, which this year acquired a new music score by a British /Lebanese composer Bushra el-Turk.

Episode 13

Amit Lahav, the creator of the critically acclaimed physical dance theatre company Gecko speaks about their visually stunning and visceral performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

On the occasion his major retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, a short profile of the architect Richard Rogers.

Episode 14

A look at the restoration of the historic Tabriz bazaar, one of the winners of this year’s Aga Khan architectural awards. A report about an installation in the Barbican theatre by Turkish artist Ayse Erkmen, who has used moving theatrical backdrops to imaginatively fill a large curved space.

Film critic Jonathan Romney reviews The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino’s homage to his native Rome.

Episode 15

A special programme devoted to the 2013 Venice Biennale. The art critics Jessica Morgan and Clair Bishop review some of the most seminal artists present which include Alferedo Jaar (Chile), Akaram Zatari (Lebanon), Jeremy Deller (UK) and Anri Sala (France).

Episode 16

A report about the exhibition of the Iranian Vienna-based artist and poet Behrouz Heshmat who created ‘treehouse’ sculptures is his recent exhibition “The House is Black”.

Episode 17

A look at the exhibition called Traces of the Cuban-born prominent performance artist in the New York scene Ana Mendieta who died young in the 1980s.

The Iranian writer Nahid Tabatabaiee is interviewed at the Frankfurt Book Fair about the challenges of publishing in Iran. A review of the documentary Stopover about immigrants wanting to reach Europe and to leave Athens. Film critic Jonathan Romney reviews Woody Allen’s latest film based around the life of a woman whose wealthy lifestyle disappears overnight after her husband is arrested for fraud.

Episode 18

A report about the art of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who is mostly known as a politician and leader of Iran's opposition movement, but is also a painter and architect.

The artist and experimental filmmaker Shirin Neshat speaks about her workshop for filmmakers and about her philosophy.

The Portuguese graffiti artist Vhils, whose real name is Alexander Farto, speaks about why he uses street as his canvas to create the most striking portraits of common citizens.

Episode 19

The exhibition Johannesburg looks the role played by art in the South African city in the age of apartheid.

Razia Iqbal interviews American author Jhumpa Lahiri about her writing.

A look at the exhibition by the theatre director Assurbanipal Babilla which takes place in Tehran.

Episode 20

The art historian Morad Montazami talks about the film Fifi Howls with Happiness and analyses the significance of the work of the artist Bahman Mohasses who features in it.

A look at the transforming developments in the theatre in the 20th century, including the work of Brecht, Beckett and Pinter.

Episode 22

The Argentine-Chilean novelist and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman speaks about his work which often deals with the horrors of tyranny in his native South America.

The comedian Salami Shuan Emami who lives and works in Tokyo reflects on the themes he likes to explore.

Episode 23

A profile of Iraj Pezeshkzad, the Iranian satirist and author of the famous Persian novel Dā'i Jān Napoleon.

Episode 25

A report of a retrospective exhibition in Istanbul of leading Turkish artist Gulsun Karamustafa whose work follows the modernisation of Turkey , immigration and exile.

A look at the American novel A Confederacy of Dunces which has been listed as one of the most popular books in Iran last year.