DEFC to produce doc on Qajar businessman Amin al-Zarb
Art and Experience: The Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC) plans to produce a documentary on the Qajar-era businessman Hajj Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavi (1872-1932) known as Amin al-Zarb.
Director Jamshid Bayat-Tork will direct the documentary, which explores the adventurous life of the businessman in addition to portraying the economic changes within Iranian society during the Qajar era.
Amir Kabir and Mirza Hossein Khan Sepahsalar, the prime ministers of Qajar king Nasser ad-Din Shah as well as the political activist Seyyed Jamaleddin Afghani were the three main characters who made great efforts in the development of the government, and Amin al-Zarb was the first businessman who became the first Iranian industrial investor, promoting entrepreneurship.
“The screenplay has been written by me in collaboration with Hoda Yusefi and we are planning to begin the shooting process provided that the health protocols permit,” Bayat-Tork Said.
“The documents, images and paintings of the Qajar era will be our major sources, while we are also planning to reproduce the atmosphere of those years in our documentary,” he added.
He said that he would like the film to be screened at the 14th Cinema Verite, Iran’s major international festival for documentary cinema.
Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) will also collaborate with the DEFC in the production of this documentary.
Amin al-Zarb was educated in Tehran and France, and after his father’s death in 1898, he inherited the title Amin al-Zarb. But he never played much of a role in the administration of the mint, which from 1899 was supervised by English, and then Belgian advisers.
For almost a decade, however, he managed the business left to him by his father and added Tehran’s first electrical generating plant and a small modern brick-making factory to its assets.
During the Constitutional Revolution, he led a group of merchants to mediate between the court and the people taking sanctuary in the British Legation. Later he was elected to the first, seventh, and eight sessions of Majles.