The Secret Seven
The seven Iranian filmmakers who are a part of Profession: Documentarist.
On the day she turned 30, Sahar Salahshoor would have liked to throw a rollicking party at her apartment in Tehran. Instead, she stood at a large window and stared outside — at the trees and the traffic, at the flyover and, beyond it, at a high wall with watch towers.
“It is events behind those walls that stop me from having a party,” says Salahshoor in a voice-over in Profession: Documentarist. The wall runs around a prison and Salahshoor, an Iranian filmmaker, has many friends in there. As a child, she used to visit prisons to meet her parents, both leftists who had been arrested after the Islamic revolution of 1979. “This window had a strong effect on my life. I could not stop thinking about the prison,” she says. In Delhi for the IAWRT film festival that showed films by women directors, Salahshoor, 32, begins the screening of Profession: Documentarist by telling viewers in halting English, “This has been a very difficult film to put together.”
The 80-minute film comprises personal narratives of seven filmmakers — their microcosmic worlds reflecting the sociopolitical history of Iran. The timeline starts with the Iraq-Iran war of the ’80s when Shirin Barghnavard was five and watched highrises bombarded into rubble. Long after she grows up, Barghnavard says, “It’s calm and peaceful but still the whisper of war can be heard.” The sociopolitical arc closes with Nahid Rezaei’s segment in which revellers gather in the open to celebrate the results of the 2013 Presidential elections in which Hassan Rouhani won with a landslide.
In between, Firouzeh Khosrovani reveals how she panics when travelling because investigators at the airport may stop her to ask why she “denigrated Iran with films” (Visuals in one of her films show shop boys cutting the breasts off mannequins). Farahnaz Sharifi, on the other hand, uses archival family photographs and video recordings to show how the revolution clamped down on the arts and Iranian female singers began to leave the country, and even her own beach-loving and music-crazy family began to change. “We Iranian documentary makers have films that can only be made in our minds,” she says.
Mina Keshavarz’s story juxtaposes the pain of watching her family and friends dwindle in numbers as young people leave the country to live in the US or Europe.
“We help each other make films,” says Salahshoor, adding that though they have won an award at the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014 in the UK, Profession:Documentarist has not been screened publicly in Iran. “We did not have the official permission. The seven of us came together to create this one film,” says Salahshoor, adding that the “new (political) situation is better and hopeful”. Her last film Falak Naz is about an eponymous woman farmer in West Iran and her next is, unsurprisingly, about a prison.
Source:: Indian Express