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#3: Bassidji

Directed by: Mehran Tamadon
2009 / 114 mins
Persian with English Subtitles

For three years, Mehran Tamadon immersed himself into the very heart of the most extremist supporters of the Islamic Republic of Iran (the Bassidjis) to understand their ideas.

Mehran Tamadon writes:

“In a desert, on a hill, men, women in chadors along with small children wander the large open-air ‘museum’ which stands in the memory of the martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war. It is Persian New Year and we are close to the Iraqi border. My guide is a man; big and charismatic – his name is Nader Malek-Kandi. For nearly three years, I have chosen to penetrate the depth of the world of the most avid defenders of the IRI (The Basijis), to develop a better understanding of the paradigm that motivates them. We are from the same country, and yet, we are complete opposites: Iranian living in France, atheist, the child of militant communists under the shah; I have everything required to knock down the convictions of those who respect the dogmas of the regime. Nevertheless, a dialogue binds us together. But between the games of seduction and rhetoric, within the real and sincere moments of the political and religious system that they defend, are our respective convictions ready to take a back seat so that we can come to understand one another?”