Focus Iran

Artists in resistance

  • Films
The 2022 archive


In close contact with five young artists, four of whom are women, we encounter a creative and bold Iranian photography that offers the world the image of a country as complex as it is unexpected.

Focus Iran © Newsha Tavakolian


ARTE, the European public culture channel, celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2022! Aiming to bring Europeans closer thanks to culture and to innovative programmes that encourage reflection, it is more necessary than ever. To understand the great upheavals our world is facing requires analysis, decoding, and contextualising. It is in that state of mind that ARTE is supplementing the programme of the Festival d’Avignon with a series of screenings at the Collection Lambert dedicated to politically-committed artists.

Through the lens of five young photographers, three of whom were born after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this film is about the Iran of today, its youth and its vitality. In a country where culture and art are still under the control of the State, those artists have chosen to stay in their country, in spite of the constraints and difficulties, out of pride and passion. They see photography as a tool of expression, but also as a way to reclaim their identity, far from western clichés. Of the five photographers featured in the film, four are women, all renowned internationally: Solmaz Daryani, Shadi Ghadirian, Tahmineh Monzavi and Newsha Tavakolian. They use images to talk about their status as women and their place in Iranian society. As for Abbas Kowsari, he questions the place of the masculine. In their work as photographers, they all strive to circumvent censorship with skill and humour.
Who are those artists who lead us to little-known territories, far from stereotypes? What strategies do they use to continue working, how do they navigate the “red line” of interdicts? From the first shooting to the opening of their exhibition, this film follows them in their turbulent daily lives, from Tehran to Kashan and Lake Urmia, to offer a new vision of their country. A vibrant and inspiring journey.


Documentary by Nathalie Masduraud and Valérie Urrea (France, 2017, 52mn)

Presented by Marie Labory (ARTE Journal)
Followed by a meeting with Nathalie Masduraud and Valérie Urrea, directors of the film.


Coproduction ARTE France, Terra Luna Films, Harbor Films

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