Category Posts

BubuWeb: Kianoush Ayari’s Tazeh Nafas-ha

Kianoush Ayari, still from Tazeh Nafas-ha, 1979

Kianoush Ayari
Tazeh Nafas-ha (The Newborns)
45 min
In Farsi with English subtitles

Kianoush Ayari’s documentary captures rare scenes of everyday life on the streets of Tehran in the months following the revolution of 1979 — that somewhat utopian period between revolutionary violence and the formation of a full fledged Islamic Republic when a bright future seemed possible, if not probable.

In this Tehran, we witness books carrying conflicting ideologies sold openly on the streets, laborers debating as to the wages they have been promised, and young men donning Arab garb to have their portrait taken with a Yasser Arafat backdrop. We also witness extended scenes from three different political plays, along with street theatre in a park where a performer imitates various iconic pop singers, political figures, and even the Shah himself.

Still, images from slums in the south of the city remind us of lurking problems in the background, and while the film ends on an optimistic note — with footage of youth energetically campaigning for upcoming elections — 33 years later and in light of current events, that optimism seems misplaced, if not bittersweet.

Kianoush Ayari’s Tazeh Nafas-ha on UbuWeb

This upload is part of the BubuWeb project — a partnership between Bidoun and UbuWeb which aims to make available rare audio and visual materials from the Middle East.

March 6, 2012

Reza Abdoh on UbuWeb

Reza Abdoh, still from Bogeyman, 1991

We are very pleased to present eight rare videos from experimental theater director Reza Abdoh (b. 1963 Tehran, d. 1995 New York City) on UbuWeb. The videos include four show tapes used in theatrical performances: The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice (1990), Bogeyman (1991), The Law of Remains (1992), Tight Right White (1993) and four standalone experimental videos: My Face (1986), Sleeping with the Devil (1990), Daddy’s Girl (1991), The Weeping Song (1991).

Reza Abdoh was an Iranian-born director and playwright known for his large-scale, experimental theatrical productions that utilized multimedia elements and violent sexual imagery. Reza Abdoh died of AIDS on May 11, 1995 in New York City at the age of 32.

Reza Abdoh on UbuWeb

With special thanks to Adam Soch, Brenden Doyle, and Salar Abdoh.

This program is part of the BubuWeb project — a partnership between Bidoun and UbuWeb which aims to make available rare audio and visual materials from the Middle East.

March 2, 2012

Serpentine Gallery: Free Cinema School hosted by Bidoun in collaboration with Ubuweb

Wednesday June 8, 2011

Centre for Possible Studies
64 Seymour Street
London W1H 5BW

In conjunction with our residency at the Centre for Possible Studies, the Bidoun Library will present a program of two films drawn from our collaboration with the online archive UbuWeb.

The program will be introduced by Masoud Golsorkhi, editor of Tank magazine.

Bahman Maghsoudlou
Ardeshir Mohasses & His Caricatures
20 min

A short documentary about Ardeshir Mohasses (1938-2008) featuring rare footage of the Iranian artist in his studio in Iran before his self-exile in New York which was to last over thirty years. Mohasses’ anti-shah and anti-Islamic Republic cartoons used settings and costumes of the Qajar dynasty of 1794 to 1925 — a misdirection that fooled nobody. The film features commentary from Iranian intellectuals of the time including Houshang Taheri, Javad Mojabi, and Fereidoun Gilani whereas Mohasses, a man of few words, is noticeably mute throughout.

Kamran Shirdel
The Night It Rained

In northern Iran, a schoolboy from a village near Gorgan is said to have discovered that the railway had been undermined and washed away by a flood. As the story goes, when he saw the approaching train, he set fire to his jacket, ran towards the train and averted a serious and fatal accident. Kamran Shirdel’s film The Night it Rained does not concentrate on the heroic deed promulgated in the newspapers, but on a caricature of social and subtle political behavior — the way in which witnesses and officials manage to insert themselves into the research into this event. Shirdel uses newspaper articles and interviews with railway employees, the governor, the chief of police, the village teacher and pupils — each of whom tell a different version of the event. In the end, they all contradict each other, while the group of possible or self-appointed heroes constantly grows. With his cinematic sleights of hand, Shirdel paints a bittersweet picture of Iranian Society in which truth, rumor, and lie can no longer be distinguished.

Upon completion the film was banned and confiscated, and Shirdel was finally expelled from the Ministry. It was released seven years later in 1974 to participate in the Third Tehran International Film Festival, where it won the GRAND PRIX by a unanimous vote, only to be banned again until after the revolution.

June 3, 2011

BubuWeb: Pasolini in Palestine

Seeking Locations in Palestine for the Film “The Gospel According to Matthew” (Sopralluoghi in Palestina per il film “Il Vangelo secondo Matteo”)
Pier Paolo Pasolini.
52 min

In 1963, accompanied by a newsreel photographer and a Catholic priest, Piero Paolo Pasolini traveled to Palestine to investigate the possibility of filming his biblical epic The Gospel According to Matthew in its approximate historical locations. Edited by The Gospel‘s producer for potential funders and distributors, Seeking Locations in Palestine features semi-improvised commentary from Pasolini as its only soundtrack. As we travel from village to village, we listen to Pasolini’s idiosyncratic musings on the teachings of Christ and witness his increasing disappointment with the people and landscapes he sees before him. Israel, he laments, is much too modern. The Palestinians, much too wretched; it would be impossible to believe the teachings of Jesus had reached these faces. The Gospel According to Matthew was ultimately filmed in Southern Italy. Mel Gibson would use some of the same locations forty years later for The Passion of the Christ.

More here:

May 18, 2011

Bidoun at the Amsterdam Art Book Fair

Amsterdam Art/Book Fair
14 & 15 May 2011
Bidoun presentation Sunday May 15 at 2pm

Tiffany Malakooti UbuWeb Bidoun Library Kenneth Goldsmith

Bidoun will be on display this weekend as part of Shashin Art Bookshop‘s table in addition to a presentation by Tiffany Malakooti on the Bidoun Library and BubuWeb projects.

For more information visit:

May 11, 2011

BubuWeb: Four Films from Kamran Shirdel

UbuWeb, Tiffany Malakooti, Iran Social Film Documentary

Nedamatgah (Women’s Prison) (1965)
Tehran Is the Capital of Iran (1966)
Qaleh (The Women’s Quarter) (1966)
The Night It Rained or The Epic of Gorgan Village Boy (1967)

Bidoun and UbuWeb are pleased to present four of Shirdel’s most renowned socio-political documentaries, films that courageously and frankly revealed the darker side of Iran’s economic boom, analyzing the effects of a society flush with oil money. These films were steeped in a deep social consciousness reminiscent of the best of the Italian Neo-realist tradition, the cinema that had influenced him deeply during his studies in Italy. Shirdel’s furious documentaries and cinematic language were a bone of contention both under the Shah and following his exile, because they spoke up for the underprivileged and, in doing so, exposed and criticized the corruption of the mechanism of power. Because of the severe censorship, nearly all his films were banned and confiscated, and in the end he was expelled from The Ministry and put on the blacklist. Seven years after it was made (and censored), his The Epic of the Gorgani Village Boy (The Night It Rained!), after receiving the GRAN PRIX at The Third Tehran International Film Festival (1974), was immediately banned again and remained so (like his Nedamatgah (Women’s Prison, 1965), Qaleh (Women’s Quarter, 1966), Tehran Is the Capital of Iran (1966), and others) until after the revolution.

Visit Kamran Shirdel on UbuWeb

May 9, 2011

Adventure Persian Style

This past Sunday Bidoun screened a special hour-long montage for BLVCK AMERICA’S inaugural BLVCK EYE film night at the Ace Hotel in New York. Responding to popular demand, we’ve uploaded it for all to see along with some photos of the screening.

The montage is comprised of shorts and clips from materials which in some manner depict a relationship between Iran and the rest of the world: Farsi in American films, English in Iranian films, French directors commissioned to make films in Iran — even Princess Soraya Bakhtiari’s acting debut in a throwaway Antonioni film.

Click here to see a guide to source films.


February 1, 2011

BubuWeb: Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Contras City

Djibril Diop Mambéty
Contras City
1968, 21 min

Djibril Diop Mambéty’s earliest film, a short entitled Contras City (1968), highlights the contrasts of cosmopolitanism and unrestrained ostentation in Dakar’s baroque architecture against the modest, everyday lives of the Senegalese. Mambéty’s recurrent theme of hybridity—the blending of elements from precolonial Africa and the colonial West in a neocolonial African context—is already evident in Contras City, which is often considered Africa’s first comedy film.

Watch Contras City on UbuWeb

July 1, 2010

BubuWeb: Four Animations by Ali Akbar Sadeghi

Seven Cities
1971, 15 min

The Rook

1974, 10 min

Malek Khorshid
1975, 16 min

Zal and Simorgh
1977, 24 min

2004, 11 min

Four rare animations have been added to Malek Khorshid on BubuWeb. Ali Akbar Sadeghi (b. 1937) is an Iranian painter, animator and illustrator. A founding member of Kanoon, Sadeghi is most famous for his mixture of traditional miniature style with the surreal.

Special thanks to Arash Sadeghi!

Watch Ali Akbar Sadeghi animations on UbuWeb

June 24, 2010

BubuWeb: An American in Tangier

An American in Tangier
Mohamed Ulad-Mohand
English, Arabic and French with French Subtitles
1993, 27 min

A seldom seen portrait of an aging Paul Bowles and his life in Tangiers. Featuring Mohammed Mrabet and music by Bowles.

Watch An American in Tangier on BubuWeb.

April 2, 2010

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