Tehran Is the Capital of Iran (1966-79) documents life in a deprived district in the south of Tehran. The images of destitution in Tehran’s poor areas is accompanied by a variety of spoken accounts: the official viewpoint on the district’s living conditions, what the inhabitants have to say, and occasional extracts read out of school manuals. The key element in Shirdel’s film is the counterpoint effect he creates with image and sound. His impressively powerful portrayal of social unease helps reinforce the impact of his astonishing documentary images and social themes. —Nyisff
Kamran Shirdel (born in 1939) studied architecture, urbanism, design and film direction at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (CSC) in Rome. During his Roman studies he had the opportunity to have such great figures as Roberto Rossellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nanni Loy, Francesco Rosi, Gillo Pontecorvo and many others as his direct teachers. His thesis film was a short called The Mirrors. During this time he also worked as an assistant on John Huston’s The Bible, which was then shooting at the famed Cinecitta studios.
After graduating in 1965, Shirdel returned to Tehran and started directing documentaries for the Ministry of Culture and Art. Over the next three years he directed his most renowned socio-political documentaries, six films that courageously and frankly revealed the darker side of Iran’s economic boom, analyzing the effects of a society of flush with oil money. These films were steeped in a deep social consciousness reminiscent of the best of the Italian Neo… read more