City of Poets
A film by Sara Rajaei
Production: near/by film
Through a collage of personal archive footage and photographs, the history emerges of a semi-utopian, metaphorical city, where all the streets are named after poets. When war begins and new neighbourhoods are built to accommodate the refugees, abrupt and sweeping upheavals lead to mental confusion among the city's residents.
"In City of Poets, I have designed an abstract image of the city that the narrator describes, changing as time passes and sociopolitical systems alternate, a town that no longer exists. Unlike most of my previous works, the imagery in City of Poets blends various existing images from 8mm family films and photographs and slides to archival ones, making it a visual turn in my oeuvre. By using existing private photos, I evoke the existence of a system that has been lost, a framework similar to the erased history in George Orwell's 1984.
City of Poets is psychologically reconstructed through fragmentary memories accompanied by a voiceover that details the structural transition of the city, addressing the most essential aspect of oral history: as something that is not fixed, which is made up of different sources and voices, without specific hierarchy, repeated and changed ever so slightly. In City of Poets, the town's psychogeography defines the mental and emotional state of its inhabitants, a small group of people living in a utopian illusion founded on poetry. And although the place is not named, the changes and confusion trigger personal stories and memories in the viewer."
Fardid Khadem Archive (photographs, slides)
Mohammad Ali Rajaei (photographs, slides, 8mm film footage)
Majid Kazemi (photographs)