Kamran Shirdel b. 1939
The Night It Rained or The Epic of Gorgan Village Boy (1967)
Duration: 35 minutes, B&W
Produced by the Ministry of Culture and Art
In northern Iran, a schoolboy from a village near Gorgan is said to have discovered that the railway had been undermined and washed away by a flood. As the story goes, when he saw the approaching train, he set fire to his jacket, ran towards the train and averted a serious and fatal accident. Kamran Shirdel's film The Night it Rained does not concentrate on the heroic deed promulgated in the newspapers, but on a caricature of social and subtle political behavior — the way in which witnesses and officials manage to insert themselves into the research into this event. Shirdel uses newspaper articles and interviews with railway employees, the governor, the chief of police, the village teacher and pupils — each of whom tell a different version of the event. In the end, they all contradict each other, while the group of possible or self-appointed heroes constantly grows. With his cinematic sleights of hand, Shirdel paints a bittersweet picture of Iranian Society in which truth, rumor, and lie can no longer be distinguished.
Upon completion the film was banned and confiscated, and Shirdel was finally expelled from the Ministry. It was released seven years later in 1974 to participate in the Third Tehran International Film Festival, where it won the GRAND PRIX by a unanimous vote, only to be banned again until after the revolution.
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