KAR O KAR - Work and Work

The sen­si­tive por­trait of an old mar­ried couple.They are talk­ing about their life and work: pro­duc­ing car­pets. A two-part film on the tra­di­tions around carpet-making in the Zand­jan province of Iran. Ways of work­ing, rhythms of life: in the vil­lage, we see the pre­cise ges­tures of an old blind woman weav­ing the Djad­jim. In town, we are shown the Ghavam zadan ritual, the game reserved for the carpet sell­ers where luck and money come into play.

My Mothers House, the Lagoon

In a house on a river, a women lives with her mother. From pho­tographs on the wall, her deceased hus­band and father look down on her daily drudgery and toil. Com­plete­ly con­trary to what tra­di­tion pre­scribes, the woman is forced to earn money to take care of her­self and her aging mother. It is a tough life. Every day, she gets up before day­break to go fish­ing in a small rowing boat. She tries to sell her meagre catch at the local market, which is not easy. But the woman is not easily dis­cour­aged. Although she often has argu­ments with the other market deal­ers and fish­er­men. Back home, her mother patient­ly waits for her daugh­ter to return, get her out of bed and take care of her.

The Song of Nimevar

The old man who is in charge of dis­trib­ut­ing water from the Nimevar Chan­nel to the inhab­i­tants, breaks down »Barema« dam each year to direct water to the river. The Chan­nel is well pre­pared for annual dredg­ing and the men gather from Nimevar and Bagher­abad vil­lages with their shov­els to do this hard task. At the end of dredg­ing, the old man is seated on the horse wear­ing a hat and army medals. He salutes the vil­lagers as they parade before him. This is the begin­ning of a feast at the end of dredg­ing. The annual feast is fin­ished with tra­di­tion­al cer­e­mo­ny of pass­ing the shov­els over the head. After the feast, some of the vil­lagers direct the water to the Chan­nel once again vol­un­tar­i­ly.

The Ferry

A »dubee« is a wide boat used to trans­port pas­sen­gers between the two banks of the River Karun in south­ern Iran. The river cur­rent is the only source of energy and the boat is steered using a simple rudder. A small boy has to nav­i­gate across the river for the first time.

At the School of Seyed Ghelish Ishan

Untouched by the temp­ta­tions of the modern world, the Seyed Ghe­l­ish Ishan Sem­i­nary, found­ed 200 years ago, stands as a time­less fortress in the quiet land­scape of Turk­men Sahra. Young boys still come to the school to be ini­ti­at­ed and study the scrip­tures. In this film, sev­er­al of the young pupils find an outlet for their phys­i­cal energy on their way home.

Fellow Citizen

Caught up in the insane bot­tle­necks of Teheran, a traf­fic cop tries to enforce a pro­hi­bi­tion. Having done this, he then pro­ceeds to demon­strate the flex­i­bil­i­ty of the law and the flex­i­bil­i­ty of the traf­fic cop. Kiarosta­mi, who him­self was a traf­fic cop in his youth, exploits the comic pos­si­bil­i­ties of this sit­u­a­tion.

Oh Protector of the Gazelle

The film describes the ritual of vis­it­ing the shrine of »Imam Reza«, the eighth Shiite Imam, in the holy city of Mashad, and the Bunuel-like behav­iour of the pil­grims.

Bab-e Jenn

In south­ern Iran, and espe­cial­ly in the ports of Bandar Abbas and Bandar Lengee, an ancient belief has it that the Djinn wind affects people by scat­ter­ing them all over the world and caus­ing a great many of them to emi­grate. There are spe­cial rit­u­als to remove the spell from the vic­tims of this phe­nom­e­non.

The Night it Rained

An item appears in the Iran­ian press about a vil­lage boy who averts a train cat­a­stro­phe by warn­ing the author­i­ties that the track was dam­aged by set­ting fire to his coat. A film crew is sent to make an epic film based about this inci­dent. But whilst the rail­way author­i­ties com­plete­ly deny the boy’s exis­tence, the Gov­er­nor Gen­er­al recog­nis­es him as a hero. In the mean­time, dozens of heroes come for­ward, each claim­ing to have saved the day.

»Shird­el paints a bit­ter­sweet pic­ture of Iran­ian Soci­ety in which truth, rumour, and lies can no longer be dis­tin­guished.«

Robert Richter