The Iranian co-directors of “Silent House” have been banned from leaving their country, according to a spokesman for the film, and so will be unable to travel to the Netherlands, where the film will have its world premiere at IDFA, one of the world’s leading documentary film festivals.
Farnaz Jurabchian and Mohammadreza Jurabchian were due to talk about the film, which runs in the main competition category, after the screening on Saturday in Amsterdam, where the 35th edition of the festival unspools Nov. 9-20. The film is also nominated for the IDFA Award for Best First Feature.
Set against the turbulent backdrop of Iranian history over the last 40 years, “Silent House” tracks the fortunes of three generations of an upper-middle-class Iranian family. At the center of the story stands the century-old house in Tehran in which the family lived through both happy and tragic times.
The filmmakers, a brother and sister in the family, were able to draw on the rich archive of family home movies, placing them alongside historical material as well as interviews with relatives. Charting the changes experienced by the members of this traditional family following the 1979 revolution until the present time in a highly personal narration, they weave together a rich tapestry of social and political themes.
When selecting the film, IDFA artistic director Orwa Nyrabia said: “The story of those who lived in the house is a mirror of the history of Iran since before the 1979 revolution until today; a journey that is deeply political and that takes us to a part or an aspect of Iran today that is I think very enlightening, because we rarely see that and our image of Iran comes usually from more stereotyped sources.”
He said it was “an extremely mature film,” and was “not to miss.” He concluded: “We believe [the film] will be seen everywhere around the world because it is very well-made.”
The film is a coproduction between Iran, France, Canada, Philippines and Qatar. Farnaz Jurabchian and Mohammadreza Jurabchian are producing for F&M Productions, alongside Elaheh Nobakht for Eli Image, which is handling international sales. The coproducers are Jewel Maranan for Cinema Is Incomplete, Stéphanie Lebrun for Babel Doc, NFB and Fatma Riahi for Al Jazeera Documentary Channel.