8 thoughts on “Rapping in Tehran”

  1. Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:Dox)
    A report from the front of Iranian rap’s struggle for survival:
    How many Iranian rappers can you remove in one single day, if you are convinced that hip hop should be forbidden? Close to a hundred, if you are as efficient as the Iranian police – but in a country where youth is irreversibly taking over the country, the result is simply that hundreds of new rappers are seeking out the illegal studios in Tehran to try their hand at the difficult and controversial art of Persian rap. ‘Rapping in Tehran’ follows the dangerous cat-and-mouse play and gives us a unique, kaleidoscopic look at the underground culture that is Iranian hip hop – underground despite the fact that several million young Iranians are listening to the music today. The authorities are upholding their ban and rappers are continuing to organize illegal concerts, from which the film gets its unforgettable, life-affirming images of young girls in headscarves and heavy makeup dancing away to the heavy beats of the music. ‘Rapping in Tehran’ is a unique contemporary document – and news from the front of a musical youth rebellion. (CPH:DOX)

  2. International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film
    If there is any music style in the world to which the term ‘underground’ can be justifiably applied, it is rap in puritanical Iran. Since the beginning of the 1990s, practically every kind of pop music has been forbidden in the Islamic Republic, but the state security forces crack down particularly hard on rappers. Their outfits, modeled on Western idols, their lyrics about identity conflicts and sexual deprivation or the fact that young women sing about themselves and their problems are reason enough to keep raiding the few studios in town and closing down the websites of the most famous singers and bands. The only consequence is that every closed down site spawns four new ones, the studios that are closed in one place re-open somewhere else and become more attractive to the scene. “Rapping in Tehran” is about young people’s tough struggle against the rigid rules of a government of old men whose resistance in the long run will be in vain. For the music keeps spreading: via the Internet, through exiled rappers who broadcast their lyrics into the country from Dubai, via mobile phones or secret parties. In any case, the courage with which they insist on the right to lead their own lives is cause for admiration. MH (DOK Leipzig)

  3. ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival:
    Rapping in Tehran, by Hassan Khademi, offers a unique view at the underground culture of Iranian hip hop music. Although millions of young Iranians listen to rap music today this genre is still strictly forbidden in the country. Visiting illegal concerts, the camera records unforgettable scenes of young Iranians dancing to the heavy beat of that music, thus expressing their rebellion against oppression.

  4. Leipzig – the city with an interesting movie theater / cafe / club, the name of NATO. Symbolically here watched Iranian film about hip-hop culture, but rather they are responsible – rap, “Rapping in Teheran.” Then gradually developing an alternative culture, with their clothing, songs, parties, which we have no longer any alternative, and pop. However, it is clear that Iran, where the rap – was prohibited, any attempt to move to the system can be regarded as a great courage. And if you – a girl singing? After all, girls’ voice songs in the country can not be. The film has raised many questions … their own systems prohibit young people to do many things, and they push forces its way to the next – the United States, Jordan, where they become normal star rating system, maybe not bad sold. Here only done to try to film in general, as a cultural situation įreikšminimas is fun, and it emerged in the people – deserve respect.

  5. Chicago Readers
    Hassan Khademi goes inside the illegal recording studios and interviews the renegade practitioners of the nascent Persian-language rap scene in his 37-minute documentary Rapping in Tehran, screening Saturday 2/27 in the second Peace on Earth Film Festival and Saturday 3/6 in the second Chicago International Movies and Music Festival.
    “Their lyrics about identity conflicts and sexual deprivation, the fact that young women sing about themselves and their problems, are reason enough to keep raiding the few studios in town and closing down the websites of the most famous singers and bands,” Khademi writes.
    “The only consequence is that every closed down site spawns four new ones, the studios that are closed in one place re-open somewhere else and become more attractive to the scene. The music keeps spreading: via the Internet, through exiled rappers who broadcast their lyrics into the country from Dubai, via mobile phones or secret parties.”

  6. “Rapping in Tehran” (37 min.) reports on the underground hip-hop scene in the capital of Iran. Director Hassan Khademi, a sociology grad student, adds a title explaining it took five months before kids trusted him. Shot in illegal studios and at an outdoor concert, this timely video was completed in October 2009.
    Raids and arrests drive some rappers to record in Dubai and points west. Others distribute their music via the Internet. Khademi samples revealing verse: “We will drink and will dance for joy until daybreak!” raps one woman. A man proclaims: “The civilization of Iranians is at danger/we are all soldiers ready to serve/I won’t let any foreigners talk about us.” (Chicago SUNTIMES)

  7. Interview with Cinema without borders:
    Hassan Khademi , the Iranian director of Rapping in Tehran, is a graduate with MA of Arts from University of Tehran and has conducted several research projects about Iranian underground music.
    Hassan khademi’s short film, Rapping in Tehran, has participated in several international film festivals such as International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival and Peace on Earth Film Festival-Chicago.
    Cinema Without Borders: How did you come up with the idea of Rapping in Tehran?
    Hassan Khademi: I am a social researcher and I have conducted research in the field of Iranian youths and also young subcultures in Iran and I’ve written some papers about them. During my research, I found that Persian rap is the most popular music style among young Iranians. I should say that Persian rap is something more than a music genre; it is a social phenomenon.
    CWB: How challenging was it to shoot this film? Did you face any problems and limitations?
    HK: Since underground music is illegal in Iran and underground singers, mostly Persian rappers, sometimes may face legal repercussions, these groups are not easily accessible and it is actually very difficult to find them. It took me 5 months until I could convince them to take part in my film.

    CWB: Did you know all the bands and performers beforehand, or you did you get to know them over the shooting period?
    HK: Before the shooting period, I had studied about all the important Persian rappers and I had listened to most of their works. During creation of the film I got to meet with them and made friendships which still last to this day.
    CWB: How did you manage gain the trust of the artists performing in Rapping in Tehran?
    HK: It was such a difficult job! The artists were particular in how they were filmed because they all feared of getting identified by the police, which would be troublesome for them. We tried to accommodate all of their requests to ensure their safety and peace of mind.
    CWB: Did you have a visual style in mind when you started “Rapping in Tehran”, or would you say that your vision came through in post-production?
    HK: I had a screenplay before shooting. But, like most documentary films, the events which happened during shooting changed the story of the film. For example, my film ends with the unwanted exile of some of the pioneering Persian rappers while, at the beginning, I hadn’t prospected this event. I can say my film was produced during the editing process.
    CWB: Were there any of the artists that did now allow you to have them in Rapping in Tehran and were there any scenes that you liked that you had to remove from the final-cut?
    HK: In this film, I went to the most talented Persian rappers, and the most important ones were ready to cooperate with me. A couple of them said they would only participate if I agreed to exclude other rappers because of their competition; a condition that I didn’t accept.
    In terms of film scenes, I should say I loved some of them but I had to omit them because they didn’t correlate with the main story or they would create trouble for the rappers.
    CWB: How did the artists react after seeing Rapping in Tehran?
    HK: The musicians who have watched the film are very pleased. They are happy to be portrayed in a positive light and they enjoy how they are represented.
    CWB: What is the current state of Iranian underground music and how do you see its future?
    HK: Underground music is the most popular music genre amongst Iranian youths. My recent survey, which I conducted for a government organization in Iran, has confirmed my research results and also verified my understanding about underground Persian rap during the shooting period.
    It is difficult to foresee the future of this genre, but it is obvious for me that Persian rap in Iran is not the cause, but it is the effect. It doesn’t matter if the effect is Persian rap or anything else, as long as the cause is still there.
    CWB: Are you working on any new projects?
    HK: Yes. I am in the research period of a film about Iranian clergies.
    CWB: How can interested individuals watch Rapping in Tehran?
    HK: Although my film cannot get permission to be shown in Iran, I have shown it in private gatherings with students, teachers and other Iranian elites—even to some cultural policy makers of the Iranian government.

  8. Screened in:
    1. International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, Germany 2009
    2. Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, Denmark 2009
    3. ZagrebDox International Festival of Documentary Films, Croatia 2010
    4. Peace on Earth Film Festival, Chicago, USA 2010
    5. The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, Chicago, USA 2010-Special Jury Award
    6. Festival Filmer la Musique, Paris, France 2010
    7. World music and Independent Film Festival, Washington, USA 2010
    8. United Nations Association Film Festival UNAFF, California, USA 2010
    9. International underground hip hop festival “Displaced Expressions” , Denmark 2010
    10. DUKE CITY DOCFEST, New Mexico, USA 2010
    11. Docutah – Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival, USA 2010
    12. Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco, USA, 2010.
    13. Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, Bay City, USA, 2010
    14. Artivist Film Festival, Hollywood, California, 2010
    15. Chagrin Falls International Documentary Film Festival Ohio, USA, 2010
    16. SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival, Rhode Island, USA, 2011
    17. Park City Film Music Festival ,Utah , USA, 2011
    18. Noor Film Festival, Los Angeles, USA, 2011
    19. Third World Indie Film Festival, San Jose CA , USA, 2011

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