Star and Shadow presents
Niyaz Saghari, 2020, Iran, 72 min., no cert.
Sun 12 May // 19:30 / Cinema
In this deeply personal documentary, filmmaker Niyaz Saghari explores how the banning of video tapes in Iran in the 1980s led to the development of a remarkable underground subculture of illegal tape trading. Despite the ever-present threat of arrest and imprisonment, cinephiles forged strong bonds and found creative ways to share their favourite movies with each other. Niyaz digs up her childhood diaries from the period to piece together a history of her own development as a movie lover and eventually a filmmaker, reflecting on the essential role of the tape dealers or filmis who would not only acquire and deliver tapes to her, but whose encyclopedic knowledge of the films available helped her develop her taste and learn about a wide range of movies from all over the world. Tracking down and interviewing 'Mr J,' the filmi who would visit her home with a suitcase full of illicit tapes, she hears about the risks he took and, ultimately, the price he paid when he was arrested and imprisoned. Fiercely dedicated to the importance of free access to media -- both then and now -- VHS Diaries is a unique look at the power of cinema to create community and the creativity that can emerge from periods of censorship and state repression.
Featuring a Skype Q&A with the filmmaker following the screening!