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Must See – 1970s Iranian Modern Art Doc


Khosrow Sinai

In the early 1970’s Iranian director Khosrow Sinai (awarded the Kight’s Cross and maker of On the Borderline, 1991, about Kurdish refguees in Iran) catalogued on tape his contemporary practitioners and pioneers of modern art in his own unique way.

The film shows an understanding of modern art and also makes a nod to the genre with its own form and edit. It is also clear that Sinai has studied music (extensively in Vienna) for it features so strongly here and the sound effects are so well placed. Being in the foreground as they are, almost another character in the scene, the film reminds us in this regard of poet and film maker Forough Farrokhzad who was making films somewhat before this one.  Here the colours, the style, transport one back into a non digital age captivated by design, while the narrative and images tell of an Iran that was forming and growing at the rate of its international counterparts.

Artists profiled are Jalil Ziapour, Marcos Gregorian, Jazieh Tabatabai, Morteza Katouzian, Hossein Mahjoubi, Sadegh Barirani, and Faramarz Pilaram and more. His work reminds us or Italian neorealism, due to his tendency to focus on social commentary and film in the street rather than in studio.