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Dance Iranian Style


A documentary film crew follows a young Iranian girl, Roya, after her request for asylum was denied and is forced to enter an illegal life on streets of Amsterdam. The film crew follows her from a distance trying not to intervene, no matter what occurs to her.


English subtitle: 
Information for the Audience: 

Directors: Farshad Aria

Writers: Nafiss Nia

Producers: Nafiss Nia

Key cast: Sarah Montazeri, Sahand Sahebdivani, Edon Rizvanolli


Director: Farshad Aria

Farshad Aria was born and raised in Iran. He started making films at The Society of Young Cineastes and participated in several film projects in Iran. Farshad was a member of the director’s team for the internationally awarded film The Cyclist (1987) by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. His first short fiction film, ‘Never This…!’, about the control system and decency forces in Iran, has been shown and praised by the audience and critics at the national film festival for The Young Cineastes in Tehran 1988. 

Farshad moved to the Netherlands in 1993 and after being graduated from The Dutch Film Academy in 1998, he has made several short and mid-length fiction and documentary films. Dance Iranian Style is his feature film debut as a director.

His previous work in mid-length duration: 
Love Invisible 51 min. Documentary - 2008 
Far From Up Close 55 min. Documentary - 2002

Director’s Statement

The reflection of the real-life experiences of the refugees in Dance Iranian Style was 
our main concern from the very start. The scriptwriter, Nafiss Nia, and I agreed from 
the beginning to prevent it from becoming a sob story even though it is about the 
harsh reality of daily lives of refugees. The mission was to tell a sad story without 
becoming too sentimental or somber. Refugees are generally brave and strong 
people with great pride, most of whom are highly educated. They do not want to be 
seen as pathetic, but just as human beings on the same level as everyone else. We 
wanted this film about Roya to be representative for refugees in general. Our aim 
was to structure a film that is as powerful as the refugees themselves, with as much 
dignity as they have. 
We did not want to merely tell a story through a conventional structure, but through a 
somehow different means of approaching both the form and the storytelling. This is 
how we decided to step onto a path in which fiction and documentary elements 
would come together. 
Using a mix of fictional and non-fictional elements to tell a single story is of course 
not new to many prominent Iranian filmmakers. This is why Nafiss and I, with our 
Iranian background, found our inspiration in the works of masterpieces of Iranian 
cinema including Still Life (1974) by Sohrab Shahid-Saless, Runner (1984) by Amir 
Naderi, Marriage of the Blessed (1989) and A Moment of Innocence (1996) by 
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Close Up (1990) by Abbas Kiarostami, and The Mirror (1997) 
by Jafar Panahi. 
Being motivated by these films, in Dance Iranian Style, we have created situations 
which do not make it an easy task for the audience to recognize what is real and 
what is not. The fictional structure in the film is being interrupted by the documentary 
part of the film and vice versa. The idea is to confront the audience with their 
prejudices and to clarify how easily we can make the wrong judgement about 
something, someone or the progress in a storyline. 
It’s maybe also good to mention that to accentuate the documentary character of the 
film we have created the scenes through an improvisational approach, inspired by 
Mike Leigh’s method of working. Both cast and crew did not know exactly what they 
could expect next throughout the shooting period.



Screenings / Awards: 

Cambridge Film Festival (World première)

Indian Cine Film Festival (Winner Best Feauture Documentary - Jury)

SCENECS International Debut Film Festival (Winner Audience Award)

Total votes: 2285

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