Jolly Cinema > 16:00

Iré a Santiago / UČITELI / YEK ATASH

Introduced by Michelle O’Halloran (Queen’s University) and Ehsan Khoshbakh


Friday 01/07/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Sara Gómez (1943-1974) was Cuba’s first woman filmmaker, making 19 documentaries that offer uniquely intimate and inquisitive portraits of those whom history could forget: women, Afro-descendent people, the young and the very old. She died while making her feature film, De cierta manera. Iré a Santiago was one her first films, portraying the city of Santiago de Cuba in a highly energetic and playful style of direct cinema, connecting the contemporary people, and spaces of this eastern city, to a past of slavery and resistance music, dance, and daily life. “There is no doubt about our condition as people of the Antilles – Sara wrote – but all this is almost a Cuban legend built through a dream. What happens is that Santiago is there. So it’s true: Cuba is an island in the Antilles. And mulato? Mulato is a state of mind.”

Susan Lord

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Sara Gómez. F.: Mario García Joya. M.: Roberto Bravo. Int.: Sara Gómez (voce narrante). Prod.: Fernando Pi per ICAIC. DCP. Bn.


Film Notes

Bulgarian documentarist Nevena Tosheva (1922-2013) had chosen a career in teaching, but she only practised it for some two years. Circumstances brought her to the Short Films Studios in Sofia, where she started as an editor, and later became a director. Still, she often turned her attention to the teaching profession. Among her school films, Uchiteli is the most daring one. A truly balanced investigation, it shows both the rewarding and the depressing sides of working in the classroom. Teachers asks questions about short-sighted administrative practices and systematic indoctrination in the context of high school. It can be considered in direct dialogue with Vittorio De Seta’s Diario di un maestro (1972).
Made just after her most acclaimed full-length documentary Fenomenat (Phenomenon, 1976), about famed clairvoyant Vanga and her treatment by the socialist establishment dealt, Uchiteli includes observations on pedagogy that would normally be quietly shunned by other directors. She even talks to a teacher who has left the profession after suffering pressures that broke her moral compass.
In her autobiography, Tosheva includes excerpts of the critical discussion of Uchiteli, preceding a very limited release. On the rare occasions the film was publicly screened, she received criticism from ordinary viewers: they wanted the profession of the teacher to be shown in a more romantic light.

Dina Iordanova

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Nevena Toševa, Liliya Metodieva. F., M.: Nevena Toševa. Prod.: Boyana Film. DCP. Bn


Film Notes

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).

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Ebrahim Golestan. F.: Shahrokh Golestan. M.: Forough Farrokhzad. Int.: John Sherman (voce narrante). Prod.: Golestan Film Studio. 35mm