SOAS University of London

Centre for Iranian Studies

SOAS Centenary Event - Youth, Cinema and War in Iran

Night Bus Image 4

Date: 3 June 2017Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 3 June 2017Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Film

Admission Free - All Welcome (no registration required)

To celebrate the SOAS Centenary the Centre for Iranian Studies is pleased to announce a special day of Iranian film. Iranian cinema has been making its mark on the international scene for over two decades. The majority of Iran's award winning filmmakers were in their youth during the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the Iran/ Iraq war (1980-87), both remarkably defining moments for Iranian history, identity and creatively. This day explores themes of youth, cinema and war in Iran.

We begin with a selection of short films made by IYCS and involving students at Iranian film institutes (compiled by Majid Barzegar and Roya Arab). This is followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A with Shahin Parvizi (former IYCS student) who will talk about his experiences learning film making in Iran, chaired by Roya Arab.

In the second half of the day we have a screening of The Night Bus (Pourahmad, 2007), before Kaveh Abbasian (specialising in 'Sacred defence' films) provides us with an overview of films and documentaries made about the Iran /Iraq war, chaired by Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad, SOAS.

**All films are in Persian with English subtitles**

Short Film Screenings and Discussion:


Lachak (The Scarf) Dir Haideh Moradi (2013), 21 min. A girl loses her new scarf, we look on as she follows the garment through beautiful Iranian natural and village scenes.

Man Ghadeemi Hastam (The Outsider) Dirs Adel Tabrizi & Iran Entezami (2014), 19 min. A literature teacher with high hopes arrives for his first day at university and has them dashed by unruly pupils.

Raha (Released) Dirs Amir Parsamehr & Peiman Naimi (2011), 29 min. A touching film which shows us the Iran/Iraq war through a child’s eye.

Gardesh (Turnabout) Dir Hamed Rajabi (2009), 17 min. A student wonders around college looking for his friends, none of whom he can find, before leaving his good bye message on the school wall.

2.30-3pm Shahin Parvizi (Filmmaker and PhD student) in discussion with Roya Arab (Musician, archaeologist, curator and PhD candidate) followed by Q&A.

3.00-3.50pm Persian tea and biscuits

"Sacred Defence' Film Genre, Screening and Discussion

3.50-4.00pm Dr Hassan Hakimian (Director of LMEI): welcome and greetings; Roya Arab introduces the afternoon and Kiumars Pourahmad’s specially recorded message.

4.00-5.30pm Otobus-e Shab (The Night Bus) Dir Kiumars Pourahmad (2007), 90 min. is a reflective nuanced look at the eight year war between Iran and Iraq. Made in 2007, the film is set on a bus transporting Iraqi war prisoners on a twenty four hour journey. Two young soldiers and an elderly bus driver is all that stands between the captured soldiers and freedom. Shot in black and white, Mehdi Jafari went on to win an award in Iran for his highly atmospheric cinematography. The music, dialogue and scenes provide an antithesis to the inhumanity of war through the shared humanity of the combatants.

5.30-6.00pm Kaveh Abbasian (filmmaker, visiting lecturer and PhD student) in discussion with Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad (lecturer and academic author) followed by Q&A.


Kaveh Abbasian is a filmmaker, visiting lecturer and doctoral student at University of Roehampton in London. His practice based research is titled Documentary films and national identity: Morteza Avini’s TV series ‘Chronicle of Triumph’ and the use of state-funded war documentaries in constructing Iranian national identity in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. Kaveh’s studies provide an aesthetic and socio-political analysis of the 'Sacred Defence' Cinema through all its phases from the Islamisation period of Iranian cinema up to now when a new surge in 'Sacred Defence' films is taking place. Alongside his studies Kaveh makes documentary films regarding social and political issues.

Chair and Co-organiser: Roya Arab is an archaeologist, musician and curator of cultural events celebrating the charm and history of the MENA region with a focus on Iran. She was a recording artist in the 1990s, before joining the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) in 2000 to complete a BA and MA in Archaeology. Having returned to music in 2010 she is currently researching the female voice and musical performance in Iranian film for a PhD at City, University of London.

Majid Barzegar is a film director, writer and producer who has won various international awards for his films, including the Jury’s Special Mention Award (Competitive Section-New Directors) of the 2012 San Sebastian International Film Festival. He has a BA in Film and an MA in Dramatic Literature. Since 2008 Majid has been president of the board of the Iranian Short Film Association (ISFA) and is highly supportive of young film makers through his involvement with the Iranian Youth Cinema Society.

Shahin Parvizi began his professional career in 1994 writing movie scripts in Iran. He later joined the Iranian Youth Cinema Society, where his short film Traffic Light received awards. He moved to the UK in 2001, continuing his films studies at the London Metropolitan University and later receiving an MA film from Middlesex University. He has made a number of drama short films, documentaries and TV programs in the Uk since 2007 and is currently undertaking a PhD in Film at the University of Surrey.

Kiumars Pourahmad is a much loved Iranian director who began his film career as a film critic and assistant director in the 1970s. He made his directorial debut in 1983 and has since made popular series such as The tales of Majid for Iranian television and a series of feature films predominantly dealing with problems encountered by children and young adults in Iran. In 1995 Pourahmad received the House of Cinema (khaneh cinema) life time achievement award. His films Bread and Poem (1993) For the sake of Haniyeh (1994), Yalda Night (2001) and The Night Bus (2007) cast a sharp nuanced eye on internal matters that affect and inform the Iranian psyche, such as the ethnic multiplicity of Iran and the mass migration that has seen millions of Iranians leave the country since the 1979 revolution. 

Chair: Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad lectures at the Centre for Media Studies, SOAS University of London and the Institute of Ismaili Studies. He is the author of The Politics of Iranian Cinema: Films and Society in the Islamic Republic (Routledge 2010) exploring Iranian cultural politics ethnographically. He has authored several book chapters and articles in publications including Laachir and Talajooy’s Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema and Music and Sreberny and Torfeh’s Cultural Revolution in Iran: Contemporary Popular Culture in the Islamic Republic. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3.

Image: Still from Otobus-e Shab (The Night Bus) Dir Kiumars Pourahmad (2007).

There will also be a Book Fair in the Brunei Suite selling both English and Persian language books.

Persian books from:

نشر و کتاب فروشی مهری Mehri Publishing & Bookshop
H&S Media
Naakojaa نشر ناکجا
نشر باران (Baran)
Forough Book
Diyare Ketab

Books on the Middle East in English and Arabic will also be available from ALEF Bookstores.

Other participants include Asia House.

* Please note that some of the traders may not have the facilities to take payments by card and that there is no cash point in the Brunei Gallery. It is advised to bring cash beforehand. The nearest cash point is outside Student Central (formally ULU) on Malet Street. Any queries regarding the Book Fair should be directed to Aki Elborzi at:

Organiser: Centre for Iranian Studies and Roya Arab

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4330