Iran, Veiled Appearances (2003)

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Iran, Veiled Appearances (2003)

Postby Ahreeman X » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:00 pm

Iran, Veiled Appearances (2003)
A Film by Thierry Michel

I highly recommend you to see this movie. This movie is a great sociological_anthropological_cultural deep soul searching of the Iranian people!

This movie is about the Two different Iran! The Islamic Fundamentalist Iran and The Modern Youth of Iran. The movie searches deep in to both faces of Iran. The movie interviews Young Basiji (pro regime) and young student activist (against regime). The director interviews a sister of zeynab and a westernized young Iranian girl. The movie interviews many people on both camps. The camera goes deep in both camps. The movie is not out on DVD yet. Once it gets out, you can purchase it at:

IPC Shopping => Movies

For now, you can view the movie in a few different screenings on Sundance channel and on your local cable:

See the movie on

Sundance Channel

Iran, Veiled Appearances
Current Screenings:

Sunday 01.16.2005
9:30Â AM

Thursday 01.20.2005
10:30Â AM

Tuesday 01.25.2005
2:05Â PM

Wednesday 01.26.2005
5:20Â AM


Iran, Veiled Appearances (2003)
A Film by Thierry Michel
88 MINS, Color

Appeared at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival Free of the restrictions that would have hindered an Iranian filmmaker, Belgian documentarian Thierry Michel visits Iran with the goal of discovering the reality behind the pervasive stereotypes that define the country in the West. Twenty-three years after the Islamic revolution, Michel finds a country of contradictions: young Iranians yearn for cultural freedom while nearby paramilitary religious sects celebrate martyrdom. Troubling and eye-opening, IRAN, VEILED APPEARANCES presents a revealing portrait of a country on the eve of transition. TVPG (AC, AL, V)

Composed of a series of diverse, often contradictory images of mundane, everyday life juxtaposed against historical footage of protest and revolution, IRAN, VEILED APPEARANCES is a compelling and insightful documentary about contemporary Iran, 23 years after the Islamic Revolution.

Defying and clarifying the concept of Iran that is presented by U.S. media and politicians, filmmaker Thierry Michel gained extraordinary access to both Iran's paramilitary religious sects, and to the increasingly modernized youth. The younger Iranians express their desire for a more open society, and challenge the wisdom of their parents who fought for - and continue to embrace - the ideals of the Islamic Revolution. By illustrating the generational and ideological division inherent in the theocratic society of contemporary Iran, the film becomes an understatedly powerful document of a country at the cusp of profound change.

The film opens to a funeral for poet and activist Mohammad Mokhtari, a victim in a series of mysterious disappearances and deaths of prominent and outspoken intellectuals, presumably assassinated by the Islamic militia. The ensuing scenes witness, even humanize, Islamic extremists worshipping and praising martyrs. Thus, a parallel is drawn between Iranian intellectuals mourning their political martyrs, while the extremists celebrate their martyrs for Islam.

The film shifts to a scene of Iranian teenagers seeking refuge from the climate of mourning, violence and enforced obedience in the mountains surrounding Tehran. The scenes of teens indulging in small acts of freedom, out of the Bassijis' reach (with other scenes of youth in a drama school and in a college dorm) capture the anger, frustration and spirit of the Iranian youth. "Our society is in freefall," one youth states, while coed dancers express hopelessness ("Our lives are suspended").

IRAN, VEILED APPEARANCES also shows the families that gather outside the prison where men are tortured for their beliefs, while democracy advocates gather in larger crowds. The Iranian revolution took one kind of courage; outliving it requires quite another.

By illustrating these dramatically different forces at play within Iranian society, Michel gives us a rare glimpse into a country that seems destined for change - or perhaps not.

Also available in a 90 minute version

"A revelatory examination... Michel's access is remarkable, his insights pointed. The film, of course, couldn't be more timely." - Newsday

"Compelling... The testimony of the proponents of democratic reform who have suffered for their beliefs is poignant, and the scenes of their opponents preparing for further retaliatory action carry an ominous power. Recommended." - Video Librarian

"Ventur[es] into dangerous territory, looking for a reality that has little to do with the images to be found in the international press... What emerges is a film that gives a brief glimpse of the complexity of the social fabric in modern Iran, where a desire for modernism chafes against the bedrock of fundamentalism. A courageous film... careful to ground its observations on a realistic human scale." - The Bulletin

** 2003 Middle East Studies Association FilmFest
** 2003 Sundance Film Festival
** 2003 Human Rights Watch Film Festival
** Honorable Mention, 2003 DocAviv International Documentary Film Festival
** 2002 Amsterdam International Documentary Festival
** Grand Prize, 2002 Creation Documentary Festival (France)
** 2002 Joseph Plateau Prize for Best Belgian Documentary

Links about the movie

Also check:

The greatest Movie Database Site on the net:

IMDB (Internet Movie Database)

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Postby Ahreeman X » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:02 pm

by Merle Bertrand
Film Threat

It's a testimony to America's growing awareness of Islamic nations in the wake of September 11, that the theater was jammed full at 9:00 on a Sunday morning for a screening of the documentary "Iran, Veiled Appearance." Unfortunately, the hoped-for and highly anticipated new insights and a deeper understanding of this ancient, increasingly relevant Middle Eastern country were few and far between in director Thierry Michel's ambitious, yet jumbled and disorganized film.

"Iran, Veiled Appearances" provides an adequate, if cursory, Iranian history lesson, ranging from the last days of the hated Shah, through the devastating Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and up to the present. Yet, the film offers precious little explanation as to why ordinary Iranians, fed up with life under the Shah's corrupt dictatorship, would voluntarily replace him with a fundamentalist Muslim theocracy under the Ayatollah Khomeyni; a regime which, until the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, was the most repressive government on Earth.

Nonetheless, the idea of an Islamic republic was one that the Iranian student revolutionaries of the late 1970s and '80s embraced wholeheartedly, as evidenced by the film's extensive exploration of "martyrs" willing -- even eager -- to die at the front fighting Saddam Hussein's secular Iraqi invaders.

Yet, to a growing number of younger Iranians, the Shah's deposition and Khomeyni's subsequent rise to power was their parent's revolution. For many of them, increasingly exposed to Western ideals and chafing under the clerics' strict rules, the Revolution has failed. Pushing for a more open and democratic society, they've rallied around the country's "reformist" president Mohamed Khatami who, despite being elected by over 70% of the citizenry, wields little other than ceremonial power.

Worthwhile information, to be sure. Yet, none of this is news to anyone who reads a newspaper or watches CNN. And while it's admirable and even necessary for "Iran, Veiled Appearances" to take the time to prime those viewers who aren't as cognizant of the situation there, this is a film that offered up the promise of probing so much deeper.

The problem here isn't in the footage itself, as Michel's cameras probe all around the country. Footage and interviews from student dorms, military barracks, mosques, the Khomeyni mausoleum and the Erboz mountain trails all provide a plethora of raw information. What's lacking is any sense of cohesion in the film's editing. Both sides of the fractured populace get to air their viewpoints here, but due to the seemingly random editing, there's very little dramatic structure to what the viewer sees. Without any real point-counterpoint between its peoples' two opposing visions for their country's future, the film lacks impact and is remarkably devoid of drama. It almost feels as if it would have been just as effective to draw the sequences out of a bag at random and string them all together.

Iran is a country that our gunslingin' president has declared to be part of an "Axis of Evil," along with Iraq and North Korea. As both of those latter two continue to be the recent cause of some significant saber rattling, one wonders if and when Iran will take its turn in the crosshairs. As such, it might be nice to really understand this exotic "cradle of Muslim fundamentalism" and its conflicted populace. Unfortunately, those looking for answers or understanding won't find much here except more confusion and consternation about a culture that's very much alien to our own. Dominated by countless scenes of Iranians wailing and flailing in the giant mosh pits of mass hysteria we see so often on CNN, yet making little attempt to explain such behavior to disdainful and even hostile Western eyes, this film provides numerous superficial glimpses of Iranian life, but very little real understanding.

In that sense, then, Iran still seems as shrouded in mystery after watching "Iran, Veiled Appearances" as it did before.
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