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 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 for free!

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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