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Film

Stung by Marmoolak
When the film was over I was a different person

By Mehdi Khazand
June 25, 2004
iranian.com

Khob... yeki bood, yeki nabood!

I am not sure why I am writing this. For a while now (a long long time!) I have wanted to write something like a novel, like a Ghesseh. And really I never cared if it was a fictional one, or not. I remember my first attempt at this, when I was a boy of maybe 8 or 9 years of age. I thought about writing a plot for a videogame (my good old Commodore 64!), filled with all kinds of sub-plots, and full of adventure in the most magical places, and... Well that didn't go anywhere, I guess I have always had ADD, and I guess I blame the TV for that!

Now, as I puff away at my half-burned Natural-American-Spirit-Light-Filtered-Cigarettes, and listen to my dear Fereydoon Forooghi (oh God!!!) I have finally gathered the courage or rather enough Energy to write my... I don't know what to call it. At first I thought I should write about current events, or Iranian politics, or... but then I thought that we hear and read about these all the time.

I am already in a Sooznak mode (thanks Fereydoon Jaan!), and writing about politics would make me want to kill myself. But then again I always think about Iran, and politics, and the suffering of my people, whether they are Iranians, Sudanese Africans, Arabs, Americans, Chinese... So I won't write about that, but I guess I already did!

Lately I have been feeling extremely depressed, and homesick. I really can't endure living in America and I can not tolerate consumerism/hysteria, big trucks, SUV's, or the new Big Truck/SUV's, George Bush, malls, loud cars and white kids listening to horrible music which they think is Hip-Hop (it's not!), Fox News and the diabolic faces of its anchormen who are the happiest when most hateful, Reality TV, racist college teachers, Highway 85's pointless carpool lane (hey I love the environment, but nobody uses that lane!), Nike ads, and many others.

You see I have been in this Kharabshodeh for almost ten years, and haven't been back to Iran at all. I came here when I was 15 (I left Iran exactly a week before my 15th birthday, to escape the old Sarbazi laws of Iran) and now, 25 years old, I say that I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! I need a trip back to Tehran Pars.

I want to go and have some Ab Talebi, under the savage sunshine of that polluted Tehran. I want to see ammeh, and amooz, and their kids; want to see my old friends, my old schools, my old house, our grape vines in our Hayat. And I want to go see Khorramshahr, where I was born. And see Kermanshah, Esfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Tabriz, Mshahd, Bam, Kashan, and more. Akh Fereydoon jaan, you know what I mean! (digeh del ba kasi nist... )

Anyways, I will tell you how I came to feel this way. You see, weeks ago I went to see Marmoolak, when it had just opened in San Jose's Camera 3 theatre. I went to the first show, on the opening day, and was one of the first ticket buyers. The room was almost empty when my friend and I took our seats, and we worried that nobody would show up. But then we reminded ourselves that Hamvatanan are always late, as I am all the time, and that surely more people will arrive. And they did!

In 10 minutes the room was filled, with maybe 10 empty seats remaining in the upper corner section. I was delighted. Normally I feel a great sense of anxiety when I am around my Hamvatanan, and I always feel so self-conscious. However this time I felt good, or rather better.

The film... (damn! I ran out of Forooghi songs, well Dariush will do, or maybe... Googoosh, I need some Go-Goosh! Thank you so much Iranian.com!) Khob... koja boodim? Aha, baleh... So the film started, and everyone went to that not-so-quiet-Iranian-film-audience mode. And we all laughed, and laughed, and cried (I did!) and laughed again. I got a bad headache from so much laughter, and my jaws were in pain. But I was mentally numb towards pain, and so I didn't care.

And I think I understood the film more than most people. I don't say this to condemn anyone, or to brag about my superiority, but while most were laughing their butts off, as I did, from all the mullah jokes, and Namaz references, and while some were making fun of the Turkeh, I was absorbing the metaphor of a Dove, and the deeper meaning of the jokes. And I saw all those goosheh va kenayeha pointing towards the very fabrics of the Iranian society, and what defines our identity as Iranians.

I have never been hateful of the rohaniat, since I don't consider those ruling the country rohani at all. And I do believe that the revolution... ok I promised there would be no writing about politics! But I guess that's impossible.

When the film was over I was a different person. And of course this change is true and normal of any experience, and so it does not always warrant a great deal of thinking on the Why's or How's of the transformation that took place. But this was different! I can't exactly put into words the ways I felt, and still feel, but I do know that one result of this change was the feeling of homesickness.

I have seen many great, and not so great Iranian films, from Abgooshti, to Artistic, from tragic and romantic, to comedy, and even War films. But I never felt the same as I did after watching this film. For me this was a truly Iranian film. It smelled like Iran, and it tasted like home. Everything from the sounds, the music, the faces, the voices, the Nazri, the slang, the flow of things, the characters, the so called flaws (some were not professional actors), and to the truly beautiful performance of Parviz Parastooi (who to me is a real Iranian man, and seems to be a living library of colloquial Farsi. And that sedayeh garm!!), reminded me of Iran.

The positive vibration of this film was such that I felt being caressed by a pair of unseen gentle hands (No! not the hands of Baghal dastim!) So you may say that it's too late to write a review of this film, since many have been written, and that you have heard it all. But I am not a film critic (chaakereh aghaayeh Noori!), and I don't intend to be one in the future. All I know is how I feel as a member of the audience, and as an Iranian.

And as an Irani, my heart is filled with pain, pain from distance, from the absence of familiar faces, from sweet memories of childhood long gone, and from living in the past. And all this came from a comedy!

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