Archive for Iran

Warring Factions

Wanted to give everyone a heads-up about an interesting new film called “Warring Factions” set to be released soon. The documentary explores the cultural misperceptions that exist between Iranians and Americans, and how break-dance can help overcome barriers to mutual understanding and tolerance. Filmmaker Jassem Mashouf takes us to Iran for a break-dance competition and offers us a window into this often misunderstood part of the world. He talks to both Americans and Iranians to get their views of the “other” and addresses the meaning of his own identities in the process. The film is important in that it shows how state propaganda, whether it be here or there, can lead to dangerous assumptions and stereotypes and how art can serve as a powerful antidote to hate.

In one scene, there is a reenactment of his detainment by two Homeland Security officials, which causes him to miss his connecting flight to the U.S. He is subjected to a frustrating barrage of questions, an excerpt of which I have posted below. Mashouf says the experience inspires “his moment of clarity regarding the role of the individual in improving the world.” Amen.

Although there is no official release date yet, spread the word and keep an eye out for the film. If you want to schedule a screening in your community, contact the director. At a time when potential conflict with Iran seems inevitable, Mashouf’s experiment in intercultural dialogue is definitely worth checking out.

Excerpt of interrogation:

-“Who is Alexander Kluge?”
-“Alexander Kluge. We found his name in your things.”
-“Where in my things?”
-“In your notebook. Who is he?” He said this while showing me the copy of the pages in my notebook.“
-You see, I’m a filmmaker and I use that notebook to write down ideas. So anything you see in there might not make any sense to you. Alexander Kluge is the name of a filmmaker that one of my professors recommended.”
-“Ok. But now you see how this is going to work.”
-“This is going to take forever,” I whined.
-“What is ‘Reenact a martyr video’?”
-Oh God. That doesn’t look good I thought. I started to explain the entry in my note book.
-“That was an idea for the film that I scrapped. Do you know what a martyr video is?”
-“No,” he said, waiting to see how I was going to get myself out of this.



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