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IRAN: A People Forever in Revolution

average rating is 3 out of 5


James Learoyd


Posted on:

Apr 17, 2024

Film Reviews
IRAN: A People Forever in Revolution
Directed by:
Farouq Mohime
Written by:
Farouq Mohime

*Please note: this review was composed before recent events involving Iran. This review is concerned only with the film in question and not with wider events.


Social filmmaking will always be one of the most important parts of cinema or most any art form, mainly due to how the medium can be used to reflect or provide context to the state of things. IRAN: A People Forever in Revolution is a short documentary that chronicles - through archive and interview footage - the plight of the country, focusing on the political instability it has had to endure. It begins with an impactful quote from journalist Ryszard Kapuściński regarding the way in which dictatorship results in a disastrous cycle of oppression... it’s an effective use of a film’s opening moments which places the viewer in the right headspace. This is a short film that’s trying to tell a very real story of a culture’s quest for true freedom; however, it’s not a conventionally informative or even a conventionally observational documentary – what it proves to be is more a collation of moments from the nation's turbulent history, which (depending on the viewer) may paint some kind of picture of the then and now while emphasising a want for progress.


The form the piece takes, technically speaking, feels rather hand-made and unusual. Specifically, almost all of the footage we see is from a camera facing a screen of some kind. This is slightly distracting; it’s also not clear whether this is happening because of any limitations with editing, or whether it is, in fact, a creative decision. Either way, it only moderately affects the impact of the final product. Though were we to interpret this as a part of the form, we could suggest that this emphasises a stylistic sense of removal; an evocation that how we perceive events is influenced by newscasts and reports.


The content of the footage is fascinating, although, for someone not in the know, not so illuminating (this is in no way a flaw in the work itself but a comment on the viewing experience for the average spectator). After the first few minutes of the piece, there’s limited testimony or audio providing context to the admittedly provocative images, other than some intriguing shots of book text in which a handheld camera moves back and forth along the lines of writing. I really admire this kind of decision, for what this short documentary showcases is a mixture of academic research, specific moments from recent history, and a clear passion for telling the story of a nation’s social conflicts – and why it matters.


Unfortunately, it’s not so much an engaging piece of narrative filmmaking; and it doesn’t attempt to craft what you would call an ‘aesthetic’. Yet, it is quite the piece of selected, persuasive documentation. The film’s most admirable quality is the clear desire for freedom. Notably, the last moments of the picture choose to celebrate the individuality of a culture, showing recent images of love, dance, and resilience. It’s a sentiment that any audience member will find touching. What one takes away from this is purely dependent on the viewer and their knowledge of the subject-matter, but the work has clear merit however you choose to look at it.

About the Film Critic
James Learoyd
James Learoyd
Short Film
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