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Twenty Days That Shook Tehran (Bist roozi ke theran ra tekan dad)


IR AN Director: Ali Razi Screenwriter: Ali Razi Cinematographer: Mohammad Namdar Editor: Susan Shams


Cast: Shahrokhi Neda, Sharifi Nawal, Sadr Mehdi, Salehi Gita 2010/color/98 min.


ALI RAZI


Ali Razi used his experience as a theater director in the creation of Twenty Days That Shook Tehran. The documentary is his first venture into filmmaking.


Documentarian Ali Razi, who is also a theater director, takes an intimate look at the tumultuous Iranian presidential election of June 12, 2009. Though we all know what happened after conservative incumbent (and US bogeyman) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, Razi reveals that even in the chaotic three weeks leading up to the vote, many Iranians shared doubts about the legitimacy of the polling: “All this is show,” one man shouts. “The winner has already been selected.”


In the streets of Tehran, Razi, cinematographer Mohammad Namdar and soundman Keyvan Nasiri remarkably manage to capture the ceaseless din of argument: Americans who think the Obama-McCain contest was an ugly brawl need only hear the black-shrouded faithful to Ahmadinejad screaming, “We support him with our last drop of blood!” as the youthful, green-clad legions supporting reformist Mir Hussein Moussavi chant, “Death to the Taliban from Kabul to Tehran!” But the unruly rallies and torrents of rhetoric are contrasted with the moving uncertainty and even fatalistic despair of a society struggling with the very notion of democracy. “We shouldn’t be fooled again,” one wary woman declares. “Does anything ever change?” a man asks the camera.


Within the bounds of this city Westerners barely know, it can be disorienting to hear two men arguing about which is the better political model for Iran—North Korea or the United States. And when thousands of Iranians jump to their feet at a stadium campaign event and quickly sit down again in a displaced version of the Wave, the surrealist effect becomes complete. It is a sight that Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, from whom Razi has riffed his title, could scarcely have imagined.


—BILL GALLO


FOCUS ON IRANIAN CINEMA In cooperation with Transition Westminster/Arvada/Broomfield


144


DOCUMENTARY


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