Abolfazl Jalili

  • Abolfazl Jalili – Det Yani Dokhtar AKA Det Means Girl (1995)

    1991-2000Abolfazl JaliliArthouseDramaIran

    Det Means Girl focuses on young Schawan, a factory guard and also a caterer. His crippled sister Baloot and his father come to see him to seek medical treatment for the girl. The efforts of Schawan and his father however prove futile. They even resort to magic and talisman rituals to save the girl’s life.The film emphasises Jalili’s narrative style, which is becoming less conventional. Metaphors and symbolic references make the ending open to interpretations. In this film, Jalili’s main concern is a pictorial language, which results in powerful images that would inspire other artists, such as Shirin Nishat’s images of women inscribed with texts. Det Means Girl was only distributed on a limited scale and has been screened only a couple of times in Teheran, strictly during festivals. The film won awards in Venice and at Le Festival des Trois Continents in Nantes.Read More »

  • Abolfazl Jalili – Yek Dastan-e Vaghe’i AKA A True Story (1996)

    1991-2000Abolfazl JaliliDocumentaryDramaIran

    While looking for the cast for another unfinished project, a director discovers his ideal actor, a boy at a baker’s shop. By the time he goes to hire the young boy for his film, the shopkeeper has fired him. What ensues is a search for the homeless child and, along the way, the discovery of his solitude, his survival techniques, and the mental and physical state of surrounding adults and children. When the director finally finds his actor, the young adolescent seems to need serious medical care.The film gives the public a view of the Iranian medical system; once again the inadequacies of the social system and its contradictions are highlighted. Jalili also elaborates on generosity, once a sacred notion, individual responsibility and human limitations. Seen as criticism of the current medical system, the film was withheld for three years and only released in 1998.A True Story has found its moving actor and a life story worth discovering, but the film unintentionally dragged Jalili towards the realm of melodrama. Of this film, Godard said ‘A True Story may turn out to be a film that is not made very well, but it will always be ahead of the art.’Read More »

  • Abolfazl Jalili – Gaal AKA Scabies (1989)

    1981-1990Abolfazl JaliliDocumentaryDramaIran

    Abolfazl Jalili’s docudrama La Gale (Scabies) is about the painful lives of young offenders who are serving time in the reformatories of post-revolution Iran. Young Hamed, arrested for handing out political tracts banned by the Islamic Republic, finds himself in a place of great suffering, in which illiterate and penniless orphans wash floors and sell their own blood. When a disease breaks out in the prison, his life within this harsh environment becomes progressively worse, a near-daily fight for survival. The film is a searing indictment against a government that failed to deliver the on the promises with which it came to power: to deliver social justice to the oppressed and downtrodden. Initially released in the mid 1980s, at a time when Iran was at war with neighbouring Iraq, the film was an unwelcome edition to the Fajr Film Festival, as its theme of prison life was deemed critical of the Islamic Republic. In a re-edited version, the film was released in 1989 to critical acclaim.Read More »

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