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RCA Film Night Series: 'Monir' by Bahman Kiarostami (2017), Presented by Fatima Uzdenova

16 October 2018 | 6pm – 8pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre


In Iran, it’s difficult to know where the artistic and the political are separated, if they can be separated at all. With the Islamic Revolution of 1979 came a wave of censorship and crackdowns that drove many artists into exile, while those who remained have had to weather the shifting sands of the permitted and the banned. But for those who have left, what does it mean to return? It’s a journey artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian made in 2004, when she moved back to Tehran and set up a studio in the city she and her family had fled 25 years prior. In his new documentary Monir — which screened at the UK Iranian Film Festival — Bahman Kiarostami looks back at the artist’s incredible life and forward to what lies ahead in her newly reinvigorated career.

Affectionately called 'Monir' by her friends, collaborators, and admirers throughout the film, Farmanfarmaian is a force of nature from the very opening scenes. The 54-minute film is built on interviews with those who have been closest to her work, archival interview footage, and conversations with Monir as she works on her latest projects. The result is a freewheeling, non-chronological exploration of her life and career. 'I’m just a person with a good eye who happens to work with mirrors', she says early on, setting an unstuffy tone for a film that’s often laugh-out-loud funny. But if Monir is taken at her word, it would be easy to overlook the incredible intricacy and interplay between traditional materials and unexpected shapes that makes her work so striking. She was inspired by the geometric, mirrored patterns in mosques, specifically citing a trip to Shah Cheragh in Shiraz as an early influence. Her best known work features mirrored mosaics built around geometric patterns, blending Sufism and Islamic art into three-dimensional glass works that recreate the movement and fluidity she saw in the mosque.

This event has been organised by the RCA School of Arts & Humanities. If you have any queries, please contact Anne Duffau for more information.