“A Pilgrim from the East”, a documentary about Dr. Daryoush Shayegan, and directed by Hassan Khademi is in the last stages of production.
Tehran Auction held its 9th auction, Offering Classic and Modern Art at the Azadi Hotel,Tehran,Iran. Hassan Khademi’s team as the previous years has produced its promotional videos.
It has always been questionable for the director, Hassan Khademi, whether the person who orders the execution of thousands of people is disgusting or he is an ordinary people who does his job accurately. Death and the judge wants to answer this question. It should be noted that the production a film in the field of retaliation and execution is very challenging in Iran and director should respect the political and social red lines. It took four years to make the film and during these years, the film director has accompanied the judge.
An Iranian judge balances the scales of justice
Iran’s most famed and feared judge has sentenced around 4,000 people to death, more than any other judge in the country’s history. This powerful documentary offers unique access into the professional and private lives of Iran’s most feared legal official. It constructs an intimate yet chilling portrait of a man who spends his days confronting decisions about life and death, both in the court room and in the course of his own life.
“I can’t sleep at night,” admits Azizmohammadi. However, it is not the fact that he has condemned 4000 people to death that keeps him awake; rather, he worries about the cost of construction of his new house. Azizmohammadi is the most famous criminal court judge in Iran, and has served for over 4 decades, presiding over countless horrifying crimes.
In Iran, the punishment for murder is often the death sentence. It is the decision of the victim’s closest relatives whether the murderer dies, but it falls to the judge to pronounce them innocent or guilty. Yet Azizmohammadi has no qualms about the thousands he has condemned. “I know those I convicted deserved it,” he says, “If you interview inmates about me, they’ll say they are scared, because I am very meticulous.” His family, whom he often presents with the appalling details of the crimes he adjudicates, give him their full support. “He never issued an unfair verdict,” claims his wife. His daughter feels similarly. “I’ve asked Father many times if he made a mistake. He always believed in what he had done.”
However, he is not without compassion. “We decided to give him a lesser term because he has recently married,” he says, referring to a man found guilty of being an accessory to a murder, “If we give him a long sentence, it’d be a heavy blow for his wife. Criminal punishment is not just hurting the culprit.”
Azizmohammadi’s personal life has been plagued by tragedy. Two brothers and his mother had died before he reached adulthood. His father was murdered brutally by a drug addict. He keeps the graphic images of his father’s cadaver on his laptop, ready for when his killer comes on trial. He has seen violent death so often it has become commonplace. “In my judicial work, most of the cases involved corpses and blood. Death truly lives with me. It is my doppelganger.”
The documentary has directed by Hassan Khademi. It is in the last stage of production. Darioush Shayegan is a polymath with a breadth of knowledge encompassing both east and west. He was brought up in Iran, attended boarding school in England, studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, literature in Switzerland and was professor of Indian studies and comparative philosophy at Tehran university between 1968 and 1979. He has written 17 books — mostly in French — covering Hinduism, Sufism, Islamic societies, Persian poetry and cultural schizophrenia.
This is the story of the Iranian famous photo journalist, Hossein Fatemi, who has over twenty years of experience. Fatemi used to be Iran ex-president Mahmood Ahmadi Nejad’s photographer, but then was recruited as the U.S Army’s photographer in Afghanistan. He then returned back to Iran to work on an independent project called the “An Iranian Journey”, Which depicts Iran in a different, more than conveys Iran as anti-USA chants, Nuclear Energy, Controversial sermons in Fridays Prayer by hard liners, and obligatory hijab. Some years later, Fatemi received a prestigious award from the World Press Photo. Following “An Iranian Journey”, he was forced to leave Iran in 2013 and is now a homeless photographer who is travelling the world, taking photos of both goodness and disarray, particularly in the Middle East.
In Hossein Fatemi’s photos, the Middles East is depicted by fundamentalism like ISIS and Taliban, fight and bloodshed, drought and famine. Throughout, Hossein Fatemi is the story-teller of such misery. Congruent with his depiction of the Middles East, Hossein Fatemi’s private life is also plagued with misery. He does not have a permanent residence, has gotten divorced from his wife, lived with his sixteen year old son for only two years and thus watched him grow up by looking at his pictures and by talking to him over the phone. He is lacking financially, and barely makes ends meet. He always advises his son, who enjoys photography, to pick another career. The story of Hossein Fatemi ultimately encapsulates an individual who left everything behind and sacrificed all he had to capture the suffering of humankind.
This project is in the filming stage and for five years, filmmaker Hassan Khademi has been working alongside Hossein Fatemi and has been documenting various aspects of his life. We have finished approximately 50% of the documentary. We need financial assistance to continue and finish this unique project.
This documentary has won a prestigious Fund from IDFA Bertha Fund in 2014
It attended in Doc for Sale in IDFA-International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (2016)
- Big sky documentary film festival – Feb 2017
- Iran International Documentary Film Festival (Cinema Verite)
This documentary has produced in 2013 and not released yet!
Young people’s tough struggle against the rigid rules of a government of old men. Music and a lifestyle that are strictly forbidden but unstoppable.