Accepted Paper:

Narration of triumph or narration for triumph: Morteza Avini's war documentary film  


Pedram Khosronejad (Powerhouse Museum)
Nader Gholi Talebzadeh Ordoubadi

Paper short abstract:

Avini believed that a documentary film, and especially war documentaries, should function without any narration and that narration should come to the aid of images when picture alone are insufficient or unclear. “As no camera can capture and present all the events and moments of the war-fronts, which are surprising and wondering, we need to use a narration for these kinds of images to make them real, touchable and more comprehensible”.

Paper long abstract:

When images of war form shocking reminders of what actually occurred, they become references for the future generations. Carefully preserved in folklore and enthroned as tradition, these images can be invoked for political purposes that transcend party and class factionalism, and serve to unite the nation in a supreme sacrifice in the national interest.

The inception of Iranian war cinema occurred after the beginning of the war in Iran. However, it took many years - and can still be considered to be trying today - to find its own language, manner, and identity.

Iranian war films, like most war films in the world, mainly concentrate on the home fronts, rather than on the conflict at the military war-fronts, and are often paired with other genres such as tragedy, epic, and comedy. Their subject matter includes the effects of war on society, the heartbreak of war, the situation of Iranian society during the post-war period and profound explorations of moral and human issues. However, few of them provide decisive criticism of senseless warfare, with frequently acknowledged and explored themes including the bravery of soldiers and tales of heroic sacrifice and struggle.

In the voluntary absence of the international media at the Iranian war-fronts, a few Iranians tried to capture the real images of the fronts. The most important work in this regard was carried out by Seyed Morteza Avini and his crew, not only during the war but also after its end.

Panel W049
Audio-visual representation and cultural diversity