Scen.: Ebrahim Golestan. F.: Shahrokh Golestan. M.: Forough Farrokhzad. Int.: John Sherman (voce narrante). Prod.: Golestan Film Studio. 35mm
In the spring of 1958 an oil well in the southwest of Iran caught fire. Golestan took his small crew to the location and filmed the process of extinguishing the conflagration. Later, Forough Farrokhzad, fresh from an educational course on the use of archival footage in the UK, edited the film which combined her poetic sensibilities with Golestan’s more symbolic approach. The result stands in sharp contrast with, for instance, Werner Herzog’s treatment of the same subject matter in Lektionen in Finsternis (Lessons of Darkness). Golestan develops a folkloric narrative, a celebration of collective work by ordinary people, while Herzog gives us an operatic tale of individualism. Golestan looks at the situation from the inside, whereas for Herzog the process of filming becomes another epic adventure in an exotic place which stands beyong language. Golestan is not interested in the steely will of men but offers an anecdotal, poetic depiction of the lives interweaved with the disaster. After all, fire was sacred in ancient Iran and fire was also the form in which God appeared to Abraham (Ebrahim).
Da: University of Chicago Film Studies Center