Taiwanese festival picks Bahman Kiarostami’s “Exodus”
Art and Experience: Iranian filmmaker Bahman Kiarostami’s documentary “Exodus” will go on screen in the Taiwan International Human Rights Film Festival, Iran’s Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC) announced on Monday.
Films from Hong Kong, Austria, France, Denmark, Germany and dozens of other countries will be competing in the festival which will be held online during September.
“Exodus” surveys the impacts of the deep recession facing Iran following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on the return of undocumented Afghan migrants from the country.
According to a recent report published by the International Organization for Migration, 13,644 undocumented Afghans spontaneously returned or were deported from Iran through the Milak (Nimroz) and Herat (Islam Qala) border crossings from December 2 to 8, 2018.
Afghan migrants are usually employed to do the difficult jobs from which Iranians shrink.
Reading an article about the Imam Reza Immigration Center, a Tehran-based organization that registers those undocumented Afghan migrants who want to return their homeland, also pushed Kiarostami to make the documentary at the center.
“Thousands of Afghans were interviewed at the center every day and we were not allowed to have any control over the conditions at all, and the questions were those asked by the center’s agents,” he said.
“As the director of the documentary, I had minimal intervention in the inquiries made during the shooting,” he noted.
It seems that the investigative process at the center turns into an inquisition. “They were asked a lot of questions from their identities to personal and religious issues,” Kiarostami stated.
Kiarostami views the documentary typically as a sequel to his books “Photo Riahi” and “Golshahr”.
Bahman, a son of the celebrated filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, said that he was inspired by his father in making “Exodus”. “The film owes a debt to Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Homework’ and ‘First Graders’.”