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Beating Heart of Iranian Cinema in Khorramshahr

Beating Heart of Iranian Cinema in Khorramshahr: Three Days with Filmmakers in Khuzestan War Zone - A Report

On the anniversary of the great epic of liberating Khorramshahr, representatives of the Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds, motion picture managers and a group of journalists visited this city for an up close and personal look at what had happened during the war and the current situation of the people in this city, and to offer their sympathy to the courageous, war stricken people of this region. 

Arriving in Ahvaz on Saturday May 23rd, the visiting filmmakers headed for Dub-e Hardan in Southwest of Ahvaz, one of the embattled areas on the Ahvaz-Khorramshahr road. Welcoming the guests to the artists’ gathering in Khorramshahr, Secretary of the event Mohammad Reza Sharafeddin described the people of Khorramshahr as the chronicler of bravery and 45 days of resistance.

Revolutionary Guard Colonel Hadi Esmailzadeh, introduced by Sharafeddin as having been involved in the Liberation of Khorramshahr, gave the audience explanations on the actual stages of the operation. Addressing himself to the attending filmmakers, Esmailzadeh said: “If our filmmakers can picture the real events and struggles that we had to go through in their films, they have managed a real coup.”

He further added: “Lot of things happened during the war which should not be forgotten, like the story of the commander who was injured at the night of the operation to liberate Khorramshahr, but refused to forgo his responsibility despite his injury. This is the kind of sacrifices which could be used as a subject for filmmakers.”

The second day of the filmmakers’ visit started with the artists paying respect to the martyrs of Khorramshahr by laying flowers on their graves at the martyrs’ section of the cemetery.

A narration of the battle between the Iranians and Iraqis and the 45 day resistance of the people of Khorramshahr was another part of the program. Narrator of the book “Da” Seyyed A’zam Hosseini recounted some memories from the courageous resistance of the people of Khorramshahr for the gathering crowd at the martyrs’ section of the cemetery.

Abadan was another destination for the visiting filmmakers. All through the way from Khorramshahr to Abadan, the evening sky was bright with the colorful fireworks as the people of war stricken cities celebrated the anniversary of liberating Khorramshahr.

The group later headed for the Shalamcheh operation zone, listening to the accounts of confrontations and operations that had happened on different parts of the route. The stretching plain near the Iran-Iraq border, which is a transit route for the pilgrims of Karbala today, was introduced as the frontline and the toughest battleground; an area still kept in the original wartime atmosphere. With the arrival of the artists at Shalamcheh and their visit of the mine fields and battered grounds, memories of the liberation of Khorramshahr was turned into a reality, creating a spiritual ambiance for all present.

Shalamcheh’s Hosseinieh, a symbol of long lasting resistance of people during the war, was another site where filmmakers listened once again to Bijan Nobaveh as he announced of the liberation of Khorramshahr in a booming, larger-than-life voice.

The launch of was also in the day’s schedule. The portal, which provides information on all feature films, shorts and documentaries on war, went online in attendance of Mohammad Reza Jafari Jelveh, Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic guidance for Cinematic Affairs. Jelveh said at the initiation ceremony: “Today, the heart of Iranian cinema beats in Khorramshahr.”

On the afternoon of Khordad 3rd, the group of filmmakers visited the Tir Square and different areas in Khorramshahr and Abadan to meet with the families of martyrs and give them some gifts on behalf of the House of Cinema. These families who lost their loved ones during the war told them about the hardships they went through during those years, and expressed their frustration over their current living conditions and the lack of general necessities in the embattled cities. During these intimate get-togethers, the artists described the resistance of the families of martyrs during those grueling 45 days as “what makes history”.

The last day in Khorramshahr began with a tour of the water battle zones of the city. The filmmakers got on a boat at the Khorramshahr port and visited the Iran-Iraq water border, the remains of the battleships and different battlefields along the River Arvand (Arvand Rud). The group of artists then visited the Friday Mosque in Khorramshahr, which was one of the safe shelters for the people during the war. Seyyed Adam Hossein, who was in Khorramshahr during the 45 day resistance, told a few stories about the brave efforts of the people to recapture the city from the Iraqis.

Finally on Monday afternoon, the filmmakers left Abadan for Tehran.  The visiting group included Majid Majidi, Reza Mir-Karimi, Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour, Sirus Alvand, Saeed Shahram, Mohammad Mehdi Dadgoo, Saeed Rad, Bahman Habashi, Morteza Shayesteh, Mohammad Reza E’lami, Masood Atyabi, Ahmad Akhundi, Afsaneh Chehreh Azad, Setareh and Laleh Eskandari, Ladan Tabatabai, Elika Abdolrazzaghi, Mahin Navidi, Bijan Emkanian, Davoud Rashidi, Mehdi Memarian, Mohammad Davoodi, Bijan Nobaveh, Habib Ahmadzadeh, Mahmoud Yar-Mohammad-Lu, Abdol-Hassan Barzideh, Jalil Shabani, Hamid Dehghanpoor, Asghar Poor-Hajarin, Manoochehr Moshiri, Hassan Poor-Shirazi, Homayoon Ershadi, Homayoon As’adian, Nezameddin Kiai, Mostafa Dalai and Hossein Torabi, who were also accompanied by Mohammad Reza Jafari Jelveh, Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic guidance for Cinematic Affairs and Mahmoud Arbabi, Director General of Supervision and Evaluation Office of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry’s Cinematic Department. 

The trip was organized and coordinated by the Managing Director of the Sacred Defense Cinema Association Mohammad Reza Sharafeddin, in cooperation with the House of Cinema.








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