Iran | Documentary | 2017 | 81 min.
Director: Shiva Sanjari
Additional Credits: Producer: Garineh Nazarian
This is the story of the Iranian filmmaker known simply as Shahrzad, and her story is Dickensian in its drama. As a 12-year-old girl she was sold (!) by her father and forced to dance in a cabaret in Tehran. As the years passed she parlayed her dire straits into a hugely successful career as Iran’s most famous dancer and then, as an award-winning actress in Iranian cinema. A star was born! But not satisfied to rest on her laurels, she successfully pursued a career as filmmaker and, in fact, in 1977 became the first female director in Iran.
Fast forward a couple of years and the Iran Revolution has roared across the nation, and it has no room for a self-made woman like Shahrzad. The government never let her work again. Worse, she was imprisoned where she became mentally unraveled, eventually ending up in a mental institution. Today, she is 72 years old and dealing with a life in a small village in Iran. Oh, but her memories are wholly intact. This poignant documentary includes fantastic archival film footage of Shahrzad at the height other career.
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Shiva Sanjari was born in 1980 in Tehran, the capital of Iran. She finished her studies in Graphic Design and Visual Arts in Tehran Azad University. Shiva has exhibited her works at different art galleries around the world. She also has participated at different art related residency programs.
Shiva started making video arts and audio works in 2012. Then in the same year, she moved to filmmaking and she made her first documentary about one of the best Iranian sculptors. After her debut, Shiva directed her first feature documentary called Here The Seats Are Vacant in 2016 about an abandoned before the Revolution cinema actress and a cabaret dancer. Here Seats Are Vacant has been played in several international film festivals around the globe.
Currently, Shiva is working on her new documentary about her hometown, the dazzling Tehran, for the French Arte channel.
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