Using animation and images, filmmaker and ex-political prisoner, Masoud Raouf shows us how step by step the visual landscape along with art and culture were subverted and replaced as means to install the government’s theocracy. As an act of restoring the human map, Raouf shares his stories based on his experiences and memories of pre and post revolution Iran while living in exile.
Director : Masoud Raouf
Screenwriter : Masoud Raouf, Robin Gorn
Year of production: 2014
Director, Writer: Reza Allamehzadeh
Year of production: 2014
A tale of two mothers and daughters, one imaginary (Roya and Darya), the other real (Azar and Nina) sharing a cell in prison. Roya is a young sketch artist who was arrested on the day her exhibit was to open in Tehran. And Azar is a young mother incarcerated with her young daughter Nina in Evin prison. The stuff of the film’s narrative is a combination of reality and imagination; it uses Roya’s designs (of infant Nina’s first steps in prison to her own appearance before the Death Committee) to describe the shocking story of political prisoners killed by Khomeini’s Fatwa in 1988, and buried in unmarked mass graves in Khavaran. Does Darya, the imaginary daughter of Roya, get the chance to fulfill her mother’s wishes by finding Nina and retrieving the lost sketches of her own childhood in prison?
“And in Love I Live” is a documentary film about political activities and experiences of three generations of female political prisoners in Iran during the past five decades. In this documentary, thirteen women talk about their political activities and prison experiences. The documentary includes reconstructed scenes of some of the prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
From Scream to Scream is the story of a young, female artist who spent eight years in jail for her political activism in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In spite of her confinement, she was able to produce more than 200 paintings and drawings and smuggle them out. This documentary includes interviews with this courageous artist in her exile in Scandinavia and shows some of her artwork.
Through first-hand accounts in Persian and English by Iranians who say they were tortured for their beliefs, filmmaker Joseph Akrami chronicles human rights abuses by Iran’s Islamic fundamentalist government. All the Iranians in Mr. Akrami’s 90 minute film now live in Canada. He also interviewed Canadian human rights groups, United Nations representatives, and immigration lawyers such as Mary Tatham. Mr. Akrami shows the faces of those whom he says are some of those Iranians, including members of opposition movements, journalists, and students. It provides detailed evidence of the systematic brutalization and torture of the Iranian people and portrays this brutality as the essence of the Iranian regime, not simply a technique to ensure its own survival.
The Corridor tells the story of a young Iranian woman who becomes politically active in opposing Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime in the 1980’s. She is made to pay a heavy price, not only in terms of her immediate suffering, her torture and imprisonment at the hands of the regime, but the deeper pain of having her daughter, born in prison, taken away by the authorities, to be brought up by her husband’s family. She is then forced to leave Iran and comes to Britain. The Corridor connects the personal and the political through an unflinching look at the nature of organized State violence and by the price paid by those who stand up to it. The film aims at a poetic realism, that both gives the viewer a moral perspective on the events and shows their devastating effects on those caught up in them.
Famously “banned” for more than a year by Iranian authorities, this taboo-breaking film is based on Manijeh Hekmat’s long fieldwork among women prisoners in Iran. She depicts the lives of Iran’s lost generation in the two decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, using the claustrophobic life of women behind bars as a metaphor for the entire society. Her protagonist, Mitra, is in prison for killing her violent stepfather. On the eve of a prison riot she confronts Tahereh, the new warden, whose dogmatic views she challenges fearlessly. Over the course of the next 20 years, Tahereh’s attitude toward her prisoners changes and softens, which reflects the country’s shifting political stance. Eventually, Mitra, aged and exhausted, is finally released, but Tahereh left behind, is now more like a prisoner herself.
Romeu, Patricia A. 2003. Women’s Prison: Study Guide. The Global Film Initiative.
The Tree that Remembers is Raouf’s compassionate reflection on the betrayal of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the tenacity of the human spirit. Raouf assembles a group of Iranians, all former political prisoners like himself who were active in the democratic movement. Blending their testimony with historical footage and original artwork, Raouf honors the memory of the dead and celebrates the resilience of the living. While anchored in a specific history, The Tree that Remembers reflects on the broad themes of oppression and survival, pouring light into a somber universe and finding unexpected fragments of hope.
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
This film is now available online. Please click here.
Three Iranian women must contend with a repressive political regime that has placed a stranglehold on nearly every aspect of their lives in this hard-hitting social drama. In a nation where a woman cannot buy a bus ticket out of town or accept a car ride from a man, much less have an abortion, it’s not difficult for women to find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Arezou (Maryiam Parvin Almani), Nargess (Nargess Mamizadeh), and Pari (Fereshteh Sadr Orafai) are left to fend for themselves after leaving an Iranian penal institution. Arezou and Nargess want to get out of town, but as they try to buy tickets to another city, find they must resort to prostitution to do it. Pari is in even worse straits; she’s discovered she’s pregnant, but she can’t legally obtain an abortion without a husband’s permission. Pari searches for help among former cellmates Monir and Elham, both of whom are now unhappily married, while learning just how many desperate women roam the streets of Iran. As one might expect, Dayereh was highly controversial in Iran and was initially banned by the government, though it received a limited release after winning the Golden Lion at the 2000 Venice Film Festival .
This is a short video celebrating the legacyof thousands of women who lost their lives in Iran between 1979 and 1999 due to their political, social and religious beliefs. For Amin Zarghami & Shahrzad Arshadi, working on this video was an opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of these women – some of whom they knew personally – and grieve their loss. It is intended as a testament both to their suffering and to the political tyranny that led to their execution. Please click here to view a pdf of the poster: Red Names.
Director, Animator: Masoud Raouf
Year of production: 1996
Format: 16 mm
Short animation (2 Minute)
A little butterfly flies on a huge ocean. It cannot stop moving and no land is in sight.