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Divinity within
Stills from a documentary on Kurdish derwishes

By Jahanshah Ardalan
August 21, 2003
The Iranian

"Beyond Words" will be be shown at InFACT Theatrical Documentary Showcase, starting Friday August 22nd at Arclight Cinemas at 6360 Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. For showtimes click here. It will also be shown at's mini film fest at Live Oak Theater in Berkeley on Saturday September 6th and at at least four more theatrical screening around the U.S. to comply with the regulations set forth by the Academy of Motion Pictures for qualifying documentaries.

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeing new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.
Marcel Proust

"Beyond Words" was mostly shot in the Iranian Kurdistan. At first I went there to look further into my family's 1000 years of documented history in Kurdistan. An old childhood mystery about Kurdistan gradually took over and changed my focus. That enigma, shrouded in myths and folk tales, centered on the elusive men of the Ghaderi order of Derwishes or Sufis in Kurdistan >>> See stills

For years I had heard about them but had never seen any of them for myself. On my first visit to Kurdistan I was permitted not only to witness, but record their ceremonies in one of the oldest cities in Kurdistan. I considered it a privilege to have been given the chance. Over a period of 8 years I went back to Kurdistan to gather more footage of these seemingly ordinary men. Their initial chants prepare them for a journey.

Passion fuels and music guides them. If necessary, they slash their way through what one thinks one knows. Their dance is a celebration of discovering the divinity within. The divinity shared by all. As different as these ceremonies appeared from anything I had experienced before, I gradually came to realize that I had witnessed it all before. Performed by different people with different religions in different languages.

"Beyond Words" is a film about these personal trips on a journey made by many. Sometimes the further you go away, the deeper you go within.

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