26 April 2010

Film review: The Factory of Martyrs, by Camilla Cuomo & Annalisa Vozza, ****

Synopsis
The face of charismatic leader Khomeini and his successors, portraits of national martyrs, animal figures symbolizing good and evil: these huge paintings, commissioned and sponsored by the government, cover the walls of entire buildings in Iran. They are part of the ongoing Islamic propaganda campaign begun at the time of the Revolution in 1979, in spite of the fact that Islam is an iconoclastic religion. The murals proliferated after the war against Iraq, which broke out a year after the birth of the Islamic Republic, cramming the streets amongst advertising billboards for household appliances and mobile phones, and they have become true “epics” of common men who – through the sacrifice and martyrdom held dear by the Shiite religious tradition – want to be fully acknowledged as heroes by the collectivity. These works stand out today in the urban landscape, amalgamating politics, war and religion into a single image. In recent years new imagery has begun to appear, abstract and mystic paintings or a kind of French-style trompe-l’oeil, evidence of the will to give the country a new, modern and more peaceful face, and a reflection of the changes, fears and contradictions of a vibrant Islamic society, brought under the spotlight of international attention.

You can read more about Annalisa Vozza.


A journey through today's Iran, by means of the huge paintings commissioned by the government, which tell about the myths and values of an evolving Islamic society. A full-length documentary, coproduced by Fabrica and RSI, Swiss Television, broadcast on RSI on December 2008 and presented in several international film festivals, including Taormina Film Fest, 2009 and Faito DOC Festival. V.O. Farsi, S.T. English. Format 16:9

You can watch a trailer here and another one here.

In partnership with: RSI, Radio della Svizzera Italiana whom you can contact to buy the movie.  

Tel: +41 91 803 5482 | Fax: +41 91 803 5725 | E-mail: salesoffice@rsi.ch

I am grateful to Faito DOC Festival for showing this film to me.

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