Film Archive

Ayan and the White Balloon

Documentary Film
Belgium,
Iran
2015
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

KASK Academy of art, Gent University, Belgium
Vida Dena
Emad, Meisam, Ali, Pooyan
Vida Dena
Dieter Diependaele, Vida Dena
Vida Dena
Milad, Michel Coquette
Hiding: behind masks, the white balloon, a fiction. The fears run deep. After five years in exile in Europe the director returns to Iran to make a film. She asks her friends to act in it. What starts as a game during the shoot gradually turns into a brutal clash between those who stayed and the one who left. Who has the prerogative of interpretation? What is a stereotype, what does the West want to see, what do the Iranians want to reveal about themselves?

Cornelia Klauß

The Black Flag

Documentary Film
Iran,
Iraq
2015
62 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Majed Neisi
Majed Neisi
Mahvash Sheykholeslami
Majed Neisi
Mani Hashemian
October 2014, the Shiite militia attack a small town in Southern Iraq that’s occupied by IS terrorists. Among the militiamen is the Iranian director Majed Neisi, armed with his camera. “Black Flag” is a rough, direct and extraordinarily authentic film about a war of whose reality we have no idea.

Take the fighters, for example: volunteers who are Shiite believers following their religious leader’s fatwa, untouched by doubt. They take the director to the seat of the former IS Sharia court. People were condemned here, decapitated there – “our cause is just”. Or the logistical problems: where do you get explosives, missiles, ammunition? A price is negotiated on the phone, 400 dollars for 1,000 rounds. A private donator pays. And finally the attack: the militia must move through a dense palm grove. There’s shooting and screaming everywhere, grenades hit, mines are dug out with bare hands, a bulldozer cuts a swath through the trees. The camera, always in the wake of the fighters, can hardly follow the chaotic events. Suddenly it’s over and the dead are carried away.

This is not war reporting but documentary work at the limit. For, as the director says, what else can he contribute to the fight against ISIS? He deserves the highest respect for this.

Matthias Heeder
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Wedding: A Film Mohammadreza Farzad

Wedding films aplenty. A sugar coated children’s fantasy. Archive, amateur and own material, splendidly edited: reflections on a strange ritual.

Wedding: A Film

Documentary Film
Iran
2015
57 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mohammadreza Farzad
Mohammadreza Farzad
Majid Mohammad Gholi
Farahnaz Sharifi
Mohammadreza Farzad
Mehrshad Malakouti
This film features weddings galore. Or rather, wedding films galore. Including Mohammadreza Farzad’s, who converted the material into a poetic essay about that strange custom of attaching a form and regulations to romance. It comes as no surprise that he had just gone through a divorce, which provided the occasion for this occasionally subversive meditation on the (according to the advertising) “most important day in a woman’s life”. A pure media fake (have you ever seen a bride falling down the stairs?), reality in wedding films is a child’s sugarcoated fantasy. Or isn’t it?

The director gleefully searches the material for signs of future breakups. This ramble through generations of weddings keeps offering brief glimpses of life outside, whose exclusion (evil reality, politics, war) in wedding films chains happiness firmly to the inside world, the family. A speculation: what would have happened if Farzad had followed his rebellious imagination on the day of his wedding? There would have been no divorce, this much is certain, but no reason either to make this film. A successful mixture of archive, amateur and own film material in brilliantly edited sequences, a private wedding loop and food for thought galore, “Wedding: A Film” is also a reflection about the burden of personal decisions.

Matthias Heeder