Fragments of a Revolution

Directed by Anonymous

57 minutes / Color
French; Farsi / English subtitles
Release: 2011
Copyright: 2011

FRAGMENTS OF A REVOLUTION goes beyond the headlines and the tweets to tell the story of the protests that swept Iran in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election.

Directed by an anonymous Iranian living in exile, the film brings together clandestinely sent emails, online videos and footage shot by protesters in the midst of demonstrations.

FRAGMENTS OF A REVOLUTION is, of necessity, a highly unconventional documentary—one in which the director relies on anonymous correspondents within Iran and on YouTube footage. The director feels as though he or she has been living in a "virtual Tehran" for eight months—watching distressing images from the homeland and trying to reconstruct the story of what happened.

This unusual process leads to a film with an astounding immediacy. We alternate between events in Tehran and the anonymous director's attempts to make sense of them—until the two storylines converge in early 2010.

film still

As the protest movement grows, we are privy to the immediate experiences of those on the ground: women picking up rocks to hand to protesters; people secretly filming police as they beat people, smash cars and target those in windows who are looking on; marchers coming under fire from rooftop snipers.

Finally, the protests die down, and the forced confessions and show trials begin. "My hopes have become ashes," says the film's director. But under those ashes, embers continue to glow.

FRAGMENTS OF A REVOLUTION is not the definitive, objective record of the powerful opposition movement that swept the country. But it is a remarkable and impressionistic inside view of the movement, through the images and words of those it most closely affected.

"Tears and feelings emerge from the film and attach to us as we become part of this very secret and intimate process. We come to know [the protestors'] fear of being caught, arrested, tortured and potentially becoming one of the many "disappeared."… this film is bound to be relevant for years to come"—Educational Media Reviews Online

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Virginie Guibbaud & Gilles Padovani

Select Accolades

  • 2011 Louis Marcorelles Prize and Special Mention Young Jury Prize, Cinema Du Reel Festival, Paris
  • 2011 Festival DocLisboa
  • 2011 Best Documentary on Democracy, DOK Leipzig
  • 2012 MESA FilmFest, Middle East Studies Association


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