Film Archive

Jahr

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Sentenced to Death Ahmad Jalili Jahromi

A group portrait of confident female criminals in Iran: neither charismatic bad girls nor victims of circumstances, but women with soft spots and hard edges, beyond familiar stereotypes.

Sentenced to Death

Documentary Film
Iran
2018
48 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Didar Shomali, Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Abbas Sarafraz
Sajjad Avarand, Ali Baghaei
Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Ensiyeh Maleki
A group portrait of evil women in Iran. One of them, Marjan, has been a drug dealer since childhood. She was imprisoned for gang crimes in conjunction with armed robbery and kidnapping. With other inmates, some of them convicted for murder, she founded a theatre group that was allowed to perform outside the prison, too. The work bound the women together, changed their perspectives and priorities, but did not turn them into new persons. Nor did it effect any delays in the execution of verdicts – including death sentences. During rehearsals, one of the actors, Safieh, learns that she will be executed on the next day.

Director Ahmad Jalili Jahromi meets his protagonists on equal terms, appoints himself neither lawyer nor judge, and certainly not the women’s probation officer. It’s astounding how the filmmaker manages to steer his narrative around the stereotypes of tragic victim or charismatic gangster moll and equally astounding how little effort is made in this film to court reflexive affection or compassion. Not to belittle affection and compassion, but especially in the cinema they are no more than reflexes and, as such, easily activated. “Sentenced to Death” chooses the harder path.

Ralph Eue

Tan

Documentary Film
France,
Iran
2018
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Elsa Klughertz (Jonas Films), Ali Shirkhodaei (Reyhan Film)
Elika Hedayat
9T Antiope
Ali Shirkhodaei
Maxence Voiseux
Elika Hedayat
Amaury Arboun, Vincent Pateau
Elika Hedayat distinguishes between the bodies made available to her as models at drawing school and those she encounters in her mind. The former are maimed, sometimes monstrous, they have missing limbs and painful expressions on their faces. Hedayat begins to search for the real persons behind the figures her imagination is projecting on the walls of her skull. She meets Iranian men whose bodies were maimed and thus formed by war. But also men who increase their body mass by disciplined exercise, seemingly compensating for the lack of arms and legs of the others. The young woman is fascinated by the human, male body which she regards as potentially the result and imprint of a much bigger one – the social body. “Tan” is the filmic investigation of this connection which Hedayat grasps intuitively. Together with some of the protagonists she literally dives into the depths to look for the bottom, the reasons. The others’, but also her own.

Carolin Weidner
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