One Image, Two Acts

Sanaz Sohrabi

IndieLisboa 2021 •

Canada, Germany, USA, Iran, Documentary, Experimental, 2020, 45′

The oil industry in Iran, established in 1908, linked the formation of media infrastructure and colonial modernity in the country. This film investigates how companies that exploited this resource used films and ethnographic photographs to represent developments in Iran.

The history of oil in Iran intersects with the history of cinema. This analytical documentary starts from a US deposit where a date and a name are inscribed and travels to Iran in search of the oil industry's history and how it was promoted. Through many photographs and films that documented the industrial reality of a certain period, as propaganda, we began to see beyond what is shown, the director being a fundamental guide with the complexity of data that she introduces into her discourse. We rarely see a film as documented as this one, but one does not forget to maintain rhythmic editing and demanding formal rigor. The final images, from a film that reconstructs the place we are talking about, are the cherry on top of this film. (Miguel Valverde)