Mystic Iran, the Unseen World | Chicago Reader

Mystic Iran, the Unseen World

This well-intentioned 2002 documentary follows filmmaker Aryana Farshad on a pilgrimage from Los Angeles to her native Iran in search of insight into its major religions—Islam, Sufism, and Zoroastrianism. There are glimpses of spectacular Islamic architecture in the city of Kashan, and fascinating dancing and chanting of dervishes—many of them women—but the bland cinematography and all-knowing narration give the film the feel of a New Age travelogue and leave the viewer well outside the mystical experiences depicted. Farshad's banal conclusion that “goodness radiating from the human heart . . . holds the universe in harmony” is illustrated with a trite dissolve from praying worshipers to a setting sun. Also on the program: Caveh Zahedi's I Was Possessed by God (1999) and Tandees Tanavoli's The Sacred Cypress (2002). 95 min.

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