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Shahrzad’s Tale | Ghesseye Shahrzad (2015)
Date of birth:
11 June 1967, Shiraz, Iran
Date of death:
13 March 2021, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Canada | Iran | South Korea
Color | Black & White
Retrospective SHAHRZAAD'S TALE The story of a lost era and a forgotten star
A tale of an incredible female artist caught in three decades of political turmoil in the cultural landscape of contemporary Iran.
Before the Iranian Revolution, Shahrzaad was a popular actress who performed in more than 50 movies, a director who made the first feature film as a woman in Iran, and a poet who published two anthologies.
In the 1960s and ’70s, actress, director, dancer, and poet Kobra Amin-Sa’idi, who performed under the pseudonym Shahrzaad, was a leading figure of the Iranian New Wave and a symbol of the struggle for social change.
Following the 1979 revolution, however, she was forced into seclusion and today just barely manages to scrape by. Shahin Parhami’s film is not a typical documentary portrait, but a moving meditative work in which the filmmaker is open about his interventions in the film and in which he makes room for a group of young female protagonists to hold their own interviews with the famous artist. Her emotional responses are not filled with resignation, but are a call for more engagement.
SHAHRZAAD'S TALE is a story of a beautiful, strong and brilliant artist. Before the Iranian Revolution, Shahrzaad was a popular actress who performed in more than 50 movies, a poet who published two anthologies, and in fact, she was the first female filmmaker in Iran who wrote and directed a dramatic feature film, Mariam & Mani (1978), before the 1979 Islamic revolution.
In the turbulence of the revolution in 1979, however, her life was completely changed and she is now a wandering homeless paria. Her intelligent and artistic insight is bright, and her life is amazingly dramatic. But director Shahin Parhami chose to make this film to be more than a simple documentary about a life.
While showing how a talented woman is influenced by socio-political change, he brings a group of young Iranian woman artists (interestingly, there is a woman who has the same name as Shahrzaad) and traces the genealogy of the forgotten or disappeared women artists in Iranian history. In doing so, he takes Shahrzaad beyond the name of an individual to become an origin and symbol of Iranian woman artists.
Directed by Shahin Parhami • 2015 • Iran/Canada/Korea