Iranian Cinema has always been on the periphery of my foreign film knowledge base. While I know of a few filmmakers, the only examples of their movie culture I have watched to date are A Girl Walks Alone at Night and Persepolis. Those two films suggest the Shi’ite Republic of Tehran is a fundamentalist state which exists as a male-centered country where women live in fear of appearing immodest. Forbidden To See Us Scream in Tehran, written and directed by Farbod Adebili, does nothing to alter this perception.
In this brilliant, fiery short, we come to know the travails of Shima (Mohadeseh Karima). Shima is a vocalist for a heavy metal band, and she excels at the world-dominant “monster voice.” It is a technique wherein the metal vocalist inverts the flow of breathing such that the voice becomes a raspy, screechy, auditory spectacle. Examples of such singing include Lamb of God, Opeth, and Sepultura.
“…perform an underground concert…and call the morality police on themselves.”
While we never learn the name of Shima’s band, we do learn Farzad (Babak Kamangir) wants to attempt a daring scheme to flee the repressive and religiously fundamentalist country. He suggests the band should perform an underground concert, record video footage to be dispersed to the internet, and call the morality police on themselves. There exists, of course, a complication. Shima has a younger, deaf sister named Sherin (Sarina Amiri). In order to enact this getaway, which may permit Shima and the band to claim asylum elsewhere, the singer must abandon a deaf teenager to the horrifying surveillance of the fundamentalists of their native city, Tehran.
Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran gets right to the heart of the matter, running under 20 minutes. For their part, the actors all do excellent, and Karima sells her anguish over the agonizing decision well. This is a tightly shot, carefully edited piece that proves most gripping.
Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran is an intense, high-octane film. Adebili pulls no punches with the narrative. The 18-minute runtime is entirely engrossing. Seek this out.
"…an intense, high-octane film."