After a long career at festivals (winning the Grand Prix at Cinéma du Réel 2014) the feature length documentary by Mehran Tamadon opened in cinemas in Paris December 3. In many cinemas in the French capital, that is still unique in its repertory of art house films. I watched the film at 11 in the morning – 40 people in the cinema…… to a film that basically is built on 105 minutes of talking between the director and the four mullahs he convinced to take part in the film after a couple of years of filming discussions with other, who ended up saying no to take part – some (according to the director) because they did not want to be seen together with ”someone like me”, others out of fear for public reactions in Iran.
”Someone like me” – the director is atheist and his ambition with the film, and inviting the mullahs to stay with him for two days, was to find out if it was possible to find a way to ”vivre ensemble”, to ”live together”. The mullahs arrive to his house outside Tehran, they eat together, some have their wives and children with them, they sit for hours discussing and drawing on paper on the floor, discussing what kind of books could be on common ground, what kind of music could be played, what kind of photos could be on the wall, the veil etc. It’s all being discussed in an atmosphere without aggression and with the mullah number two from the left on the still photo as a very efficient leader of the mullahs in terms of rethoric talent. It’s actually at times quite entertaining to watch, also when the director is instructed on how to pray and wash arms, hands and face.
At the end of the film, driving back to Tehran, the director, who lives in Paris, tells the audience that he had his passport confiscated upon arrival to Iran, because of the official knowledge of his film project. He got it back but with the message that if he came back, his passport would be taken from him, preventing him from leaving Iran. ”Vivre ensemble”?
There is a long – in French – interview with the director on Le Blog Documentaire, worth reading. Link below.
His previous film about the ”Bassidji” (Orig.) (2009 / Frankrig, Iran, Schweiz / 114 min.) is available through DocAlliance, link below.
France/Switzerland, 2014, 105 mins.