#1 Statues of Tehran
Directed by: Bahman Kiarostami
2008 / 60 mins
Persian with English Subtitles
Statues of Tehran interrogates the function of monuments in today’s Tehran, an ideology-ridden postmodern megalopolis, afflicted with forgetfulness. It tracks the fate of two important public sculptures, the first, a pioneering work commissioned by the royal family in the 1970s, of then foremost modern sculptor Bahman Mohassess; the second a tribute to the Islamic Revolution standing in Enghelab Circus (Revolution Roundabout), by Iraj Esskandari. Under the aegis of the revolution, the first was destined for neglect and eventually storage, while the second became a landmark in the city’s myriad public projects celebrating the revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. Not for long, it would seem as plans have been set in motion to remove that second monument to build a subway station, much to the jubilation of artists and officials, who are even inspired to restore the Bahman Mohassess work and re-erect it in its original place. As with The Treasure Cave, this film also explores how a revolution and autocratic regime attempt to redefine public space, national symbols and monuments, but more interestingly, it also engages with the experience of artists negotiating with official bodies, public commission, popular aspirations, official discourse and creative freedom. Kiarostami is masterful in staging real characters in a non-fictional setting that brings to the fore the fictions we all create to make sense of our being in the world.
Bahman Kiarostami was born in Tehran in 1978, he started working as an assistant director in 1996. His films have focused on the political power of faith inside contemporary Iranian culture and eloquently explores the complex layers of religious significance in the Iranian controversial society. His filmography includes Monir (2014), Taxi-Tehran (2011), Javad (2011), The Treasure Cave (2009), Anonymous (2007, co-directed with Kaveh Kazemi), Re-enactment (2006), Persian Gardens (2005), Pilgrimage (2005), Two Bows (2004) , Infidels (2004), and Nour (2003).