9th DMZ Docs(2017)
I AM DOCU
An atheist, Iranian filmmaker Mehran Tamadon managed to convince four mullahs, all believers in the Islamic Republic of Iran, to come and stay with him for two days and engage in discussion. In this confined space, daily life is combined with debate, an unremitting demonstration of the problematic issue of how to live together, when each side’s understanding of the world is so contrary.
Mehran Tamadon attempts to engage in free debates about how people of different belief can coexist in the closed and dogmatic society of Iran, but fails every single time, with the director being frequently suppressed by the governmental authorities. After three years of persistent effort, Tamadon’s attempt to arrange a place for debate eventually gets a fruitful outcome through filmic experiments. That is, the director succeeds to invite a regime-friendly type and four conservative religious leaders to his country house in the outskirts of Teheran. Then he suggests them to cohabit with an atheist who left Iran to live in France-a double stranger-in this space blocked off from the world outside, with a camera. This isolated house transforms into a movie studio-like space. At last, this staged space separated from daily spaces becomes a place where those invited could talk in freedom about topics tabooed in the Iranian society. Like a reality TV show, the participants tacitly follow the game rules the film presents. The camera shooting them acts as if it is another participant, eventually functioning as another catalyst of debate. [Cho Myoung-jin]
Bassidji (2010) This film recounts my attempts to engage in dialogue with those who defend the Iranian regime. Over a three year period, I sought to persuade them to come and spend a few days, living with me in a house, to discuss a fundamental issue: how, in practical terms, could we find a way to co-exist? How can public space in Iran be shared by atheists like myself as well as by the religious, who have the monopoly of power?
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