The opening film of the 12th annual One World festival (March 10-18) will be the Iranian documentary Green Days. This extremely relevant film documents one the worst examples of the suppression of democratic principles in recent years. Since the violent crackdown of post-election demonstrations last summer, People in Need has helped organise discussions, screenings and happenings in support of the Iranian opposition. During this year’s festival, People in Need would also like to emphasise the longstanding role played by student activists in the pro-democracy movement in that country.
The protagonist of Green Days is a young Iranian theatre director called Ava, who finds herself caught up in the euphoric pre-election demonstrations being held by the supporters of the presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Through spontaneous interviews with Mousavi’s followers, the film takes a very open look at an opposition movement imbued with optimism. Just a few days after the rigged elections, however, these pictures are replaced by shocking footage from small handheld cameras and mobile phones recording the brutality of the Iranian police, which had already claimed hundreds of victims. This film by the 21-year-old Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf (who had to leave her country for fear of arrest) won the Bravery Award at last year’s Venice International Film Festival.