Iranian Documentary Cannot Be Overlooked
Most of us will likely be able to find Iran on the map of the world. However, what mark has Iranian cinema made on the map of contemporary world documentary? The difficult path of contemporary Iranian film across film festival programmes is lined with a complicated political situation as well as an evident desire for change. Use the unique opportunity to watch a selection of the most interesting Iranian documentaries of the past 15 years online from May 18 to 24 at DAFilms.com for free!
A crystal clear and yet visually impressive portrait of the harsh life in Iranian mountains is brought by Mahdi Moniri’s acclaimed film TINAR. Its deep story revolves around the everyday activities of thirteen-year-old Ghasem who herds cows for a living. Completely alone, out of touch with his family that only faces him with physical aggression and indifference, the boy survives in the inhospitable conditions of the mountains, devoting all his time and love to a herd of cows he takes care of. However, despite all the adversity, Ghasem never stops dreaming. To him, the chance of learning to read, write and leave the mountains is a dreamt-of yet so far unattainable goal.
A change, this time concerning the whole country, is also the dream of a group of young citizens of Tehran who have decided to express their attitude and difference by means of an untraditional tool; the urban acrobatics of parkour. What might seem as a mere leisure activity at first glance becomes a crucial point in the lives of its devotees, an expression of their political opinion as well as a driving force to organize the first public parkour festival in the capital. Will the STREET SULTANS win their fight?
The changes of the past, brought to Iran by the Islamic revolution of 1978, are followed and retrospectively evaluated by one of the most remarkable representatives of contemporary Iranian cinema, director Mohammadreza Farzad. In his two films INTO THIN AIR and BLAMES AND FLAMES, he employs archive footage documenting the bloody revolutionary disorders. While INTO THIN AIR focuses on the infamous “Black Friday” in Iranian history, which saw the massacre of hundreds of innocent victims unaware of a curfew, BLAMES AND FLAMES captures the revolution from the specific perspective of the use of the film medium. The radical political changes made in the name of overthrowing the secular system were well documented not only by film professionals but also by the very participants. The TV screen, the camera and burning cinemas became symbols of the Islamic revolution that are imbued with meaning by Farzad again.
History also plays a role in TEHRAN HAS NO MORE POMEGRANATES! which is remarkable for its playful music form. In a lightened tone, the documentary, openly oscillating between fiction and reality, uses archive and contemporary footage to compose a mosaic-like portrait of the capital of Tehran ranging from the esteemed history of the Persian Empire to the contemporary victory among the most polluted cities of the world.
Do not miss the unique opportunity to learn what contemporary Iranian documentary is like, what it speaks of and who it speaks to. Watch the singular Iranian weekly event from May 18 to 24 at DAFilms.com for free!
Films for the event
The Absence of Mr. & Mrs. B (Orig.) / 2009 / Iran / 62 min
In a remote Iranian village, a wife and her husband have been married for years without conceiving. Iran’s policy requiring married couples to have children places additional strain on the couple, whose relationship is already deeply troubled...
The Trucker and the Fox (Orig.) / 2013 / Iran / 78 min
Suffering from bipolar disorder and inconsolable grief over the death of his pet fox – the star of his amateur short film, a truck driver decides to shoot a donkey romance with a new fox cameo. The film is a loving portrait of the truck drivers who sit out in the parking lot to watch their colleague’s films of animal fables.
Street Sultans (Orig.) / 2010 / Iran / 38 min
Street Sultans is a documentary about parkour in Iran, there are several young people who were the pioneers of a dangerous street sport: parkour. The sport is derived from modern cultural society. They are trying to hold a festival in Tehran.
Falgoosh (Orig.) / 2012 / Iran / 27 min
Iran’s 1978 Islamic revolution was closely associated with movie screens, cameras, and television images. At its outset, there were the arson attacks on more than 130 movie theatres, and the revolutionary events themselves were spontaneously recorded on film by the participants. Using only period footage, the filmmakers meditate upon the role of cinema, television, and film in society.
Khaterate Enghelabe Bahman Asheghe Leyla (Orig.) / 2012 / Iran / 17 min
A retrospective family history, set against the backdrop of the turbulent events in Iran in 1978. Using a mosaic-like collage of old photographs and archival footage, Bahman tells the story of an unrequited love that led him into the centre of the revolutionary events. In the end, his sacrifice personifies the thousands of young men who never returned home...