Il Cinema Ritrovato on Tour: Far From Home


The Main 3 Fri, May 12, 2023 7:00 PM
Film Info
Program:Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour
Runtime:93 min


Far From Home

Friday, May 12 at 7:00pm

Highlighting restored, archival, and silent cinema from Il Cinema Ritrovato's annual festival in Bologna, Italy.

Introduction by Sima Shakhsari (University of Minnesota)

About Far From Home (Dar Ghorbat / In der Fremde)
Iran, Germany | Directed by Sohrab Shahid Saless | 1975 | 93 min | Turkish, German | Courtesy Saless Archives

A transitional film linking Sohrab Shahid Saless’s Iranian period with his extended stay in Germany, this was the third film in an unplanned trilogy – which also includes A Simple Event (Yek Etefagh sadeh, 1973) and Still Life (Tabiate bijan, 1974) – focusing on social isolation and stillness. It follows a few days in the life of Husseyin (played by the Iranian Parviz Sayyad), a Turkish ‘guest worker’ who shares a flat in West Berlin with a group of fellow Turks. No other film has depicted the painful repetitiveness of an immigrant’s life in such candid detail. Saless, who had encountered racism while living in Austria, wrote the script in 12 hours and shot the film within 12 days, using a mostly Iranian crew and Turkish non-actors he had found in a local teahouse. The project was partially funded by an Iranian co-op then recently co-founded by the film’s main actor. A vital force in Saless’s career as the producer of Still Life, Parviz Sayyad was an actor/director whose credits include major box office hits, comedy series and arthouse dramas. Here he assumes a dignified walk, complete with the leather briefcase he carries, which is painfully unsuited to his character’s menial job. The film premiered at the Berlinale, where in the previous year Still Life had won the Silver Bear.

Repetition, which had been used in contemporary Iranian films as a poetic device, here emphasizes the sense of wastefulness. Saless’s austere style is also manifested in the dialogue: either muttered words or the flat delivery of banal facts. It is as if Husseyin’s entire being is crushed and reshaped under the heavy pressing machine that he operates daily in the hopeless cycle of his life.

There is an abundance of elements from other Saless films: trains, letters written and read, as well as the despairing sight of empty, unmade beds. The vanity of life is captured in dead moments, when even after a character has walked out of the frame the camera lingers, staring into the vacuum and revealing a bleak vision of the world of the exploited and the rootless. As if mirroring the backgammon game played in the film, all of life’s movements are merely small maneuvers within a narrow square. -Ehsan Khoshbakht

Sima Shakhsari (University of Minnesota) Bio: Sima Shakhsari is the Chair of the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. They earned their PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University and have an MA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University. Their areas of specialization include refugees, diasporas, sexuality, empire, militarism, necropolitics, civil society, and digital media. Shakhsari's book, titled Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan (Duke University Press, 2020) received the Fatema Mernissi Book Award Honorable Mention from the Middle East Studies Association.

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About Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour–Minneapolis

Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour–Minneapolis will feature recently restored archival films at The Main Cinema from May 11–13, 2023. Presented in partnership by Archives on Screen, Twin Cities, the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Cineteca di Bologna, the festival will screen eleven highlights from Il Cinema Ritrovato’s 2022 lineup. Il Cinema Ritrovato is an annual international film festival that exhibits new restorations and archival films in Bologna, Italy. Archives on Screen is proud to partner with Il Cinema Ritrovato and Cineteca di Bologna to curate selections from their festival for Twin Cities audiences.

About Archives on Screen, Twin Cities

Co-organized by Michelle Baroody and Maggie Hennefeld, Archives on Screen is dedicated to bringing rare, unseen archival films from around the globe to movie screens in the Twin Cities. Animated by a love of cinema and a commitment to making visible excluded images from the past, we work with international film archives and local film venues to expose students and audiences to the richness of film history. We program events that foster open dialogue and community engagement between university students and local film audiences across the Twin Cities. Our programming draws on local, national, and international film archives, and it spans the early history of silent cinema, studio feature films, experimental counter-cinemas, third cinema, amateur and non-theatrical films, short films, unfinished films, and contemporary independent filmmaking.