Kamran Shirdel

Kamran Shirdel – Teheran, payetakht-e Iran ast AKA Tehran is the Capital of Iran (1966)

“Tehran is the Capital of Iran” (1966-79) documents life in a deprived district in the south of Tehran. The images of destitution in Tehran’s poor areas is accompanied by a variety of spoken accounts: the official viewpoint on the district’s living conditions, what the inhabitants have to say, and occasional extracts read out of school manuals. The key element in Shirdel’s film is the counterpoint effect he creates with image and sound. His impressively powerful portrayal of social unease helps reinforce the impact of his astonishing documentary images and social themes.. Read More »

Kamran Shirdel – Nedamatgah AKA Women’s Prison (1965)

“Women’s Prison” recounts the life of the prisoners and the problems their families encounter in their struggle to survive. Here again filmmaker Kamran Shirdel employs the cinema verité style. The interviews with the prisoners, social workers and teachers serve as commentaries for “constructed” documentary images. The technical process shows the extent to which solving social problems depends on everyone’s cooperation and participation. Certainly prisoners alone cannot offer the remedy to the entire catalog of social ills that propel these women into delinquency. Read More »

Kamran Shirdel – An shab ke barun amad AKA The Night it Rained (1967)

Also known as The Epic Of Gorgan Village Boy, is a modern-day epic that attempts to retrace the true circumstances of a heroic act in the north-Iranian countryside. One rainy night near the village of Gorgan, a schoolboy discovered that the heavy rains had washed away the soil underneath a section of railroad tracks. He proceeded to stop an oncoming train by lighting his coat on fire, standing on the tracks and waving it. Doing so, the schoolboy prevented a terrible railroad accident. Incorporating newspaper reports and interviews with railroad employees, the governor, the chief of police, the village teacher, students and villagers, Shirdel describes the events, or better, the divergent recollections of them. The skilfully and cyclically edited footage is riddled with contradictions. How could this young hero have set fire to his coat in the pouring rain? Did he even exist? According to one toothless old man, “It’s all just a pack of lies.” Read More »