Since 2013 we have been presenting the diversity of Iranian cinema to a mixed German-Iranian audience – citizens of German origin, but also the lively Iranian Diaspora community in Cologne.
For ten years, the Iranian Film Festival Cologne has been providing new and unusual insights into the isolated country.
The 2023 edition is themed around “Woman, Life, Freedom” – at a time when protests by the Iranian people are being put down amid massive human rights violations, including murders and executions.
Because of the sad and horrific events in Iran since the assassination of Mahsa Jina Amini, we have long considered the appropriateness of hosting an Iranian film festival in 2023.
Since 2014, “Visions of Iran” has been showing Iranian everyday life, realities and cinematic worlds away from the political conditions and the respective headlines. In addition to the burning economic, social and environmental problems, this also includes the cultural richness and ethnic diversity of the country, as well as the beauty and courage, the concerns and dreams of its people.
Ultimately, even in these dark times, we do not want to miss the possibility to offer our audience an opportunity for commemoration and a forum for exchange and discussion.
Not all the selected films are directly related to the protests, yes: they are not all sad either – some give a comforting light and give a smile – but they have all been chosen in respectful and honorable memory of the victims and their families.
Seven Winters in Teheran
Reyhaneh Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2007 for stabbing the perpetrator in self-defense during an attempted rape. Seven years later, the sentence was carried out. Steffi Niederzoll reconstructs the tragic case of the 19-year-old on the basis of video recordings, statements and memories of relatives and fellow prisoners,.
Mehran Tamadon, who lives in exile in France, has been dealing with the power structures of the Iranian regime for many years: for “Where God Is Not” he recreated their former prison cells in Paris according to the instructions of former political prisoners.
A resolute mother, a hyperactive six-year-old, a phlegmatic father with a cast on his leg and a dog drive in a rented car from Tehran towards the Kurdish mountains to see off the family’s eldest son as he flees across the border.
When Ebrahim Monsefi, the “Bob Dylan of the Iranian South,” died 20 years ago in poverty and drug addiction, he left behind hundreds of lyrics and more than 200 songs, recorded only with a small tape recorder.