DER Documentary

Plastic Flowers Never Die


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by Roxanne Varzi
color, 34 min, 2008




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The war with Iraq was the largest mobilization of the Iranian population, achieved primarily by producing and promoting a culture of martyrdom based on religious themes found in Shi'a Islam. Martyrdom became state policy. Khomeini made it clear the war was a spiritual one that the people, and not a professional army, would fight. It would be a sacred defense; a war of good against evil, of spirit against military might, where a human wave of believers would form a wall of defense against the Iraqis. Over 800,000 people died.

Anthropologist, writer and filmmaker Roxanne Varzi spent twelve years researching and writing about post-Revolution public culture in Iran. As an Iranian-American who was born in Iran and left shortly after the Revolution she found that even though she had missed the war with Iraq it was omnipresent. She spent a year in Iran without a film permit speaking to ideologically driven mural painters, museum curators, war vets and other cultural producers alongside the secular youth who were meant to consume the culture created by the government. The result is an experimental documentary and meditation on the aftermath of the war, and especially the mourning after.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Noor Iranian Film Festival, USA, 2013
Iranian Film Festival Australia, Australia, 2012
3rd Women's Film Festival, Chennai, India, 2010
5th Annual Women's International Film & Arts Festival South Florida, 2010
Iranian Film Festival, San Francisco, CA, 2010
DOCSDF, Mexico City, Mexico, 2009
DocuDays, Beirut International Documentary Festival, Lebanon, 2009
International Festival of Ethnological Film, Belgrade, Serbia, 2009
Days of Ethnographic Film, Moscow, 2009
New Filmmakers Series, Museum of Architecture and Design, Los Angeles, CA, 2008
The Boston International Film Festival, Boston, MA, 2008
Uqbar Project Space, Berlin, Germany, 2008
Middle East Studies Association, 2008
Society for Visual Anthropology Film Fest, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2008

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