Saturday, 18 July 2015
27 January 2021
Kooche Mahtabi- Bahman Ghobadi and Discrediting Hachemi Rafsanjani

«Not an illusion, a film by Torang Abedian»

2010 June 23

Ardavan Taheri/ Radio Koocheh

a.taheri@koochehmail.com

Translated from Persian By Avideh Motmaen-Far

avideh@avideh.net

”Interior, theatre, Friday evening at 9PM: The red velvet stage curtain opens at ”Metro Kino” next to Vienna Conservatory.  ”The Austria Broadcast Film Archives” announces the beginning of ”Not an illusion” a film by ”Torang Abedian”.”

A few months ago a letter of “Torang Abedian” addressed to “Bahman Ghobadi”, famous Iranian film director was published on the internet. She accused the director of the film “No one knows about  persian cats” of copying her film. In her open letter she wrote: «In these times in which we all know, we are permanently humiliated, lies and sophistry are common place and many human rights are violated on a regular basis repeatedly. We have heard many times, that works presented by famous people who have been offered financial support, are in reality the result of the work, the thinking and the suffering of those who often remain unknown, or die in poverty. »

photo by CHRISTINA RUFATTO

The documentary “Not an illusion” is an 85 minute movie with its central personage ”Sarah Naini”, a young singer of alternative music. It talks about how young musicians deal with problems in Iran, their concerns and issues related to music, concerts, publishing musical works and even exercise music in an Islamic society. The movie ”No one knows about persian cats” with the same theme is based on the story of a young boy and a young girl who are looking to create a music band and find passports to travel to Europe to participate in music festivals. It is trying to show a little bit of the problems of young musicians in Iran. Now we have to understand if Torang Abedian’s accusations to Bahman Ghobadi are rightful or not!

Have all these games of Roxana Saberi and Bahman Ghobadi , willingly or unwillingly, just been a scenario for discrediting the head of the ”Expediency Council,” Akbar Hachemi Rafsanjani “?

To enter this debate and deal with Ms. Abedian’s claims we have to consider this issue from two angles. One way is to consider Bahman Ghobadi in his personal and social context as a filmmaker with a sum of his actions and reactions. In this regard maybe it is better to look into the capture of ”Roxana Saberi” the Iranian-American journalist. She was arrested in Iran while she was working as a reporter without any legal permit from Islamic Republic of Iran and during a court holding private sessions on April 18, 2009 was condemned to eight years imprisonment. For some reasons the first accusations of ”spying” she was charged of were later changed to accusations of ”gathering documents against The Islamic Republic”, thereby changing her condemnation to two years of imprisonment clause.

Roxana Saberi was finally released on Monday, May 11, 2009 from Evin prison. Her attorney insisted after her release that she had only copied a secret document of ”Expediency Council” and kept it without using it. Mr. Bahman Ghobadi presenting himself as Ms Saberi’s fiancée, in an open letter to ”all statesmen and politicians” wrote: ”If I was silent, it was for her sake and now that I speak up is because of her!”[1] Ms. Saberi’s father did not confirm Mr. Ghobadi’s claim of being Ms Saberi’s fiancée and Mr. Ghobadi was left alone and even at risk of arrest by the Islamic Republic’s security system.

Now considering the fact that Ms. Saberi gets clearance from a ”spy” accusation in no time,  was free to leave Iran and the person who gave her the secret document is still in prison with an unknown fate, and  Mr. Ghobadi was not sent to prison and his ” underground ”film – to quote his own words- “No one knows persian cats” in those days were sent to international festivals and himself was free to travel outside Iran, there comes a big question: Have all these games of Roxana Saberi and Bahman Ghobadi , willingly or unwillingly, just been a scenario for discrediting the head of the ”Expediency Council,” Akbar Hachemi Rafsanjani “?! I mean the same scenario which was somehow revealed since the arrest of “Hossein Moosavian” former senior nuclear negotiator and a trustee to “Hachemi Rafsanjani”

Namjoo, Naieni, Aslani, Abedian

In this review of Mr. Ghobadi’s context, it must be pointed out that Islamic Republic security system tries to control and divert the current social and protesting artistic works by copying and infiltration! In the same way that the film ”Protest” by Massoud Kimiai, on the sidelines of a protest story tried to destroy the “student movement” and later, the intentions of Seyed Emamy’s famous film was also revealed.

In this review of Mr. Ghobadi’s context, it must be pointed out that Islamic Republic security system tries to control and divert the current social and protesting artistic works by copying and infiltration.

However, remember that Bahman Ghobadi’s highlighted film “A Time for Drunken Horses” was the first Iranian film in “Kurdish” and this caught the attention of those people and countries that seek to break Iran into different parts. So we can assume that American radicals have been interested in  Ghobadi and he was even offered the job to be the Iraqi government’s film adviser. Falling into the trap of the Islamic Republic security forces, he made the film ”No one knows about  persian cats” to mark his emancipation with the help of Touraj Aslani’s art theft.

Of course, there are similar examples in western countries: Deviation in music such as “Jazz” or “rap” that goes back more to economic reasons, unlike Iran, where political and security aspects are dominant. To prove that this is all about political security, we can compare the two films endings:

Sara Naieni

Bahman Ghobadi’s film ends by the fall of Ashkan from a building while escaping from plain clothes forces, the arrest of Nader and the suicide of Negar, all the three central characters. Showing the  horrible and painful fate awaiting the people who make underground music and protest. While the film, ”Not an illusion” directed by Ms. Abedian, with an end in total accordance with the reality, that the central character continues to work and live despite the odds leaves the viewer hopeful about the future.

However, remember that Bahman Ghobadi’s highlighted film “A Time for Drunken Horses” was the first Iranian film in “Kurdish” and this caught the attention of those people and countries that seek to break Iran into different parts.

But another way to consider and review this copying conflict, is to look into a few sequences of Mr. Ghobadi’s film. He insisted on the fact that his film has been shot without legal permissions of the Republic Islamic several times. Although from minutes 84 to 85 of the movie you see Police officers in  uniforms and police cars, outdoors, in front of Touraj Aslani’s camer! Same person who spent five years as a cameraman to shoot the film ”Not an illusion” and was familiar with all the locations of the next film he shot for Mr. Ghobadi; I mean ”No one knows about Persian cats”. Somewhere else in the film, directed by Bahman Ghobadi,  Mr. Aslani’s camera enters Tehran Judiciary Palace for taking images of the scene of an investigation. Note that a simple camera without the necessary permits, is not allowed entrance to the courthouse! So how Touraj Aslani’s camera entered the Judicial Complex, deserves reflection!

Hudecek, Abedian

During the entire question and answer session with Torang Abedian and Michael Hudecek, prominent Austrian Editor continued, I thought to myself: ”Has Ghobadi  been victim of his ambitions?”

To be reminded that the film, ”Not an illusion” was screened thanks to the efforts of the association ”Iranian image of Vienna” and  “The Austria Broadcast Film Archives” at the 170- year -old Metro Cinema Theatre last Friday, June 28, 2010 in Vienna with Torang Abedian herself present!


[1] Source: BBC persian ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2009/04/090421_op_ghobadi_saberi.shtml )

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