Artists' Television Access


Thursday, May 9, 2013
FREE and open to the public
The New Nothing Cinema
16 Sherman Street
San Francisco CA 94103

Near 7th Street and Folsom, between 7th and 6th Streets, Folsom and Harrison.

Nearest BART is Civic Center.

This film night, curated by media studies scholar Targol Mesbah, is part of the spring 2013 Incite/Insight Film Series, a collaboration among: The New Nothing Cinema,  Shaping San Francisco and the Anthropology and Social Change Department at CIIS. Our participation in this series is in conjunction with Taraneh Hemami’s year-long residency with The Arts at CIIS, focusing on the devotions of ground-level participants in the Iranian student revolutionary movement in the Bay Area during the 1960s and 70s.
Shirdel, born in 1939, studied first architecture and then film at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografía in Rome. He returned to Tehran in 1964 and produced six documentary films that analyzed and exposed the dark side of Iranian society. Shortly after the 1979 revolution, these films and the unedited material, most of which had been banned and confiscated, were released for a short time and Shirdel was able to finish the films. In 2000 he created the Kish Documentary Film Festival, which offers a platform to Iranian documentary filmmakers.
The Night it Rained (1967-1974)
Conceived, written and directed by Kamran Shirdel
B&W // shot in 35mm; projected in DVD // Running time: 35:00
The Night it Rained, sometimes considered Kamran Shirdel’s best film, tells the story of a school boy from a village near Gorgan in northern Iran. We believe the boy has discovered that the railway has been undermined by a flood, and on seeing the approaching train, he sets fire to his jacket and runs towards the train, thus averting a serious and fatal accident.
Rather than concentrate on the heroic deed as told in the newspapers, Shirdel uses newspaper articles and interviews with numerous parties: all tell a different version of the event. In the end, they all contradict each other, while the group of possible or self-appointed heroes constantly grows. Shirdel paints a bitter-sweet picture of Iranian society in which truth, rumor, and lie are indistinguishable.
After completion, the film was banned and confiscated and Shirdel was expelled from the Ministry of Culture and Art. It was released seven years later (in 1974) to participate in the Third Tehran International Film Festival, where it won the grand prize by unanimous vote.
Women’s Prison (Nedamatgah)  –  1965 // Running time: 10:38
Using cinéma vérité style, Shirdel here recounts the life of the prisoners and the problems their families encounter in their struggle to survive.
Tehran is the Capital of Iran (Teheran, payetakht-e Iran ast)  –  1966 // Running time: 18:23
This piece by Shirdel documents life in a deprived district in the south of Tehran; images of destitution are accompanied by a variety of spoken accounts from both government officials and district inhabitants.
Women’s Quarter (Qal’eh)  –  1966-80 // Running time: 18:08
The film depicts the living condition of prostitutes in Tehran’s red-light district during the mid-sixties.

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