IRAN, KOREA, CANADA / 2010 / Persian, Turkish, Russian / Color, B&W / Blu-ray (SD) / 120 min
Director, Photography, Editing, Sound, Producer: Shahin Parhami
Sound Design: Shahin Parhami, Dino Emilio Giancola
Music: Amin Aghaie
World Sales: Cinemashena
Amin is a young musician who carries on the musical tradition of the nomadic Qashqai tribe of Iran. Returning home from musical studies in Kiev, Amin becomes the direct witness of his perishing culture as well as the conservator of its musical tradition, whose memory he stores up in his body. The figure of Amin playing violin in the past and in the present is intercut with shots of him facing the camera, ardently recounting his childhood and thoughts: with all this, his feeling for music resonates. A personal road movie exploring both musical traditions and the roots of its protagonist.
[Director’s Statement] My first feature documentary, Jabaroot (2003), was on diasporic traditional Iranian music in Canada. In the course of making it, I met Amin Aghaie, a very young and talented violinist who comes from a nomadic community in the south of Iran called the Qashqai.
Amin was the youngest musician among the masters of Qashqai music. Throughout the interviews and recording sessions with the Qashqai musicians he proved to be the most articulate and knowledgeable of all in terms of the history and theory of his musical tradition.
Eight years later, Amin contacted me from Kiev. He informed me that he was now an ethnomusicology student at the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music in Kiev. He told me that with all his love for performance and composition he has decided to dedicate his life to preserving his musical heritage. I learned that despite all the economic challenges that he and his family face they are completely dedicated to their musical tradition.
Across Asia, people trying to maintain traditional lifestyles are being pushed to the brink of extinction as their youth abandon the old ways and head for life in big cities. The Qashqai are not an exception. Amin is a rare example of a young man who seeks to preserve and maintain his cultural heritage rather than abandon it. I believe that exposing the beautiful and unique music of the Qashqai to the world through the medium of film will create a new interest in the culture, both among international communities and, critically, within Iran itself.
Born in Shiraz, Iran, Parhami studied film production and film studies, first at Ottawa’s Carleton University and later at Concordia University in Montreal. He has directed several award-winning short and feature documentary films that have been selected by many international film festivals, such as the Pusan International Film Festival, the Montreal World Film Festival, Hot Docs, the Moscow International Film Festival, the Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival, and the Montreal International Festival of New Cinema. In 1997, Shahin directed his first short film, Nasoot, a poetic meditation on the deaths of three Iranian refugees. The film constituted the first part of a trilogy on Iran and diaspora, which he later completed with Lahoot (1998) and Jabaroot (2003). In 2007, his film Faces, an experimental documentary, won the best feature film award at the Cinewest Experimental Film Festival (flEXiff) in Sydney. This film is his latest creative documentary project.