Film Archive

International Programme 2014
A House in Fog Mokhtar Namdar

A woman alone in an old manor in the Iranian mountains. A simple life of hard work and caring for animals, painted in the warmest colours. But this idyll has enemies …

A House in Fog

Documentary Film
Iran
2014
27 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Javad Zahiri
Mokhtar Namdar
Mohammad Rasouli
Emad Khodabakhsh
Mokhtar Namdar
Mehdi Sadeghi, Ali Hasanzadeh
Of course the house is far too big for one person. The 100-year old mansion handed down through generations still looks majestic in this idyllic hilly landscape somewhere in Iran, despite its decrepitude. Nowadays it has only one inhabitant, Soraiia Hassani, who runs and maintains it. She needs nobody else, since she has the animals and the daily chores that make her life meaningful.
The camera paints this life in the warmest colours, finding or inventing in casual arrangements images that are closer to painting than photography. Dark colours dominate and yet there is no feeling of loneliness. Such a life becomes imaginable. Soraiia seems to miss no one, or perhaps only those who are already dead. But every paradise has its enemies. Is it the public welfare office or the law, is it her secret or is it the ghosts of the past that don’t trust Soraiia to be able to live this hermit’s life, only because she is a woman?
Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2017
Advantage Mohammad Kart

A man yet or still a boy? This is the pivotal decision in a home for addicts in Tehran, where you have to face up to your dependencies if you want to get off the streets for good.

Advantage

Documentary Film
Iran
2016
68 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mohammad Kart, Aban Askari
Mohammad Kart
Saba Neda’ee
Javad Razzaqizadeh
Esma’il Alizadeh
Mohammad Kart
Mehdi Kart
There is a place in Tehran where you learn whether you’re a man or still a boy. At least that’s how a member of the staff at a home where several dozens of men have found shelter to escape life on the street describes it. They all share a problem with addiction, injected heroin and cocaine, lived on garbage and left their families. In the home they want to get back on their feet, detoxify and learn to lead abstinent lives. Mohammad Kart is there when Hossein is admitted, a young man who has been mainlining for two years and promises to obey the rules. “I’ll remind you in 3 days.” Cold turkey comes next. Hossein and several others squirm in a room, sweat, have spasms. At last he is welcomed in a festive ceremony. He is even asked to play in the home’s football team, who are preparing for a prominent opponent.

Kart combines light episodes of community and hope with individual trips to nocturnal shelters on the outskirts of the Iranian capital. Images of misery alternate with images of sunrays shining into the dormitory in the morning, while bracing music is to lend support at the start of a new day.

Carolin Weidner

Alzheimer

Animated Film
Iran
2012
8 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Alireza Hashempour
Alireza Hashempour
Selected Music
Alireza Hashempour
Malaeke Farhang Adib
Alireza Hashempour, Malaeke Farhang Adib
Mani Hashemian
An old man lives alone with his dog. Since he keeps forgetting everything, the dog has to think for him, every day. A satirical vision of life with Alzheimer’s.
International Programme 2013
Children of Plain Sa’adat Rahimzadeh

A beautiful and colourful ode to nature and the nomadic life of the Iranian tribe of the Lurs ...

2013

Children of Plain

Animadoc
Iran
2013
10 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sa’adat Rahimzadeh, Saba Animation Center
Sa’adat Rahimzadeh
Sa’adat Rahimzadeh
Hamid Fanaei
Alireza Ebrahiminejad
Sa’adat Rahimzadeh
Amin Sharifi
A beautiful and colourful ode to nature and the nomadic life of the Iranian tribe of the Lurs. An episode of the series “Whisperings from My Home”, which moves beyond the concept of linear storytelling.
International Programme 2019
Exodus Bahman Kiarostami

Every day, thousands of Afghans want to leave their Iranian exile. In the return centre in Tehran, the longing for home meets the Iranian bureaucracy. Human, complex, eye-opening.

Exodus

Documentary Film
Iran
2019
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Bahman Kiarostami
Bahman Kiarostami
Davood Maleki
Bahman Kiarostami
Every day, thousands flock to the “Imam Reza” return centre in Tehran to apply for their exit permit to Afghanistan. The drastic fall of the Rial exchange rate, triggered by the US sanctions against Iran, has made living in exile uneconomic for the more than three million Afghan refugees. But anyone who wants to return to their old home must squeeze through the bottleneck of the agency that is part of the Iranian interior ministry. This is where they are registered, often after years of illegality.

Bahman Kiarostami focuses on following the brief conversations of those eager to return with the Iranian civil servants, which reveal the complex causes and manifold consequences of migration. It is surprising and sometimes very moving how quickly closeness is generated in these basically bureaucratic encounters, how one question, a personal word makes them open up to the camera. “Exodus” shows that migration is a part of daily life worldwide and that this won’t change as long as war, persecution and economic hardship threaten lives. As long as there are causes for migration, people will set out. Borders and regulations may make their path (dramatically) difficult, but they won’t be able to extinguish their wish for a better life.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann
International Programme 2019
Khatemeh Hadi Zarei, Mehdi Zarei

14-year-old Khatemeh lives in extremely restrictive structures in the Iranian city of Shiraz. She runs away to escape a forced marriage. But the case is anything but clear.

Khatemeh

Documentary Film
Iran
2018
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hadi Zarei, Mehdi Zarei
Hadi Zarei, Mehdi Zarei
Satar Oraki
Hadi Zarei, Mehdi Zarei
Babak Heidari
Alireza Alavian
The structures of Khatemeh’s family, who originally came from Afghanistan but have lived in the Iranian city of Shiraz for more than thirty years, are rigid. The fourteen-year-old girl was married to a man double her age. He was in a relationship with her older sister, who took her own life. He says: “When she died, I wanted to marry her sister because they look alike.” According to the men in the house, mental problems are common to all the women in the family. And now Khatemeh has run away, to a kind of women’s refuge, because she couldn’t stand it any longer. She wants a divorce. Some male relatives go to the refuge to take Khatemeh with them. Her brother says: “Death is better than being a whore.”

At first glance, the situation seems clear. In the course of the film, however, more and more discrepancies emerge. Khatemeh especially shifts unpredictably between mental states. Sometimes she curses her family and fights for her freedom, then she implores the women who run the refuge on her knees to let her go home no matter what. Other girls, who also took refuge in the home, are sometimes attacked violently by her. “Khatemeh” is like a desert storm which again and again obscures the view to reveal a new vista when it’s died down.

Carolin Weidner

None of Your Business

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Iran
2019
64 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kaveh Farnam
Kamran Heidari
Kamran Heidari, Mansour Vahdani
Kamran Heidari
Saeideh Keshavarzi, Kamran Heidari
Ali Farmani
How he lived and died is nobody’s business, the singer Ebrahim Monsefi sings in a song documented in a video flickering with decay. It comes at the end of a film whose very existence asserts the opposite, because it narrates precisely that life, which was shaped by his love of music and a crash caused by the loss of loved ones. It started in the traditionally cosmopolitan southern Iranian seaport of Bandar Abbas at the Strait of Hormuz. There is even a (deserted) Hindu temple there, where the orphan grew up with his grandfather, surrounded by music from all over the world that was absorbed and interpreted by the locals. Thus Ebram learned to play the guitar at an early age and became a local star as a singer-songwriter, before he became addicted to heroin and died in 1997.

Today his songs are popular standards in the region. And catchy melancholy tunes which, in archive footage of Ebram himself and street sets of contemporary performers, become the vibrant framework of Kamran Heidari’s film. Added to this are restagings of individual stations of his life. And the artist as a spirit whose emerging, almost pathological obsession with femininity can also be read as a comment on the worldview of the never explicitly mentioned Islamic Revolution. Thus the film is more a parable than a biography, but also the portrait of a fascinating, vibrant city.

Silvia Hallensleben

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
International Programme 2018
Women with Gunpowder Earrings Reza Farahmand

A dramatic insight into the embattled Syrian-Iraqi border region. The young reporter Noor sees herself as an anti ISIS fighter but learns that her worldview was too simple.

Women with Gunpowder Earrings

Documentary Film
Iran
2017
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Morteza Shabani
Reza Farahmand
Christoph Rezaie
Reza Farahmand
Reza Farahmand, Fatemeh Bonyadi, Mosayeb Hanaie
Reza Farahmand
Hasan Mahdavi
War reporting is a balancing act. What can you show? Who profits from your images? The young Iraqi reporter Noor Al Helli reports from the embattled Syrian-Iraqi border region. She sees herself as a civilian member of the anti ISIS troops and wants to expose the cruelties of the Islamists. When she meets a group of women and children captured as sympathizers of the Islamic State, her view of the enemy is shaken. Touched by their existential poverty and hopelessness, she puts the camera down and tries to understand what drove these people to join the Salafist terror organisation. She is forced to acknowledge that these women and children have no intention of giving up their worldview voluntarily. And yet: the talks are not superfluous, for they reveal paths where there seemed to be only dead ends.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann


Nominated for the Film Prize Leipziger Ring