Keimena #15: Baghé Sangui (The Garden of Stones)
by Parviz Kimiavi

Monday March 27, 2017, 24:00 on ERT2
Baghé Sangui (The Garden of Stones), 1976, Iran, 81 min.
Director: Parviz Kimiavi

The Garden of Stones, by Parviz Kimiavi, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1976. Born in Tehran in 1939 and now living in Paris, Kimiavi is a cult figure in the Iranian New Wave. He studied film and photography at l’École Louis Lumière in Paris and worked in French television before returning to Iran in 1969, where he became a pioneering figure in Iran’s alternative cinema scene.

His films have been referred to as “ethnographic” or “postcolonial” studies, yet these labels situate Kimiavi, and his style of filmmaking, in relation to the conventional Western canon. As you will see, it is more generous to think of his filmmaking as surreal, as his works—with an awareness of cinema as a story-telling machine—show the strangeness of reality by looking at unusual phenomena and eccentric figures. In the case of The Garden of Stones, this is the extraordinary shepherd Darvish Khan Esfandiarpur. In other works Kimiavi has followed the life of a hermit, and shown how new technologies attack the fabric of life in the same way as a Mongol invasion.

Kimiavi represents the flipside of the “rural poetics” of the Iranian avant-garde, fascinated by children’s tales, village life, and the picturesque countryside. He is a media theorist as much as a filmmaker: the medium is always the message, the camera anything but a neutral observer. You see this in The Garden of Stones, which follows a deaf-mute mystic on whose behalf a variety of agents, all with their own interests, speak.

—Sohrab Mohebbi, writer and curator

Posted in Public TV on 03.27.2017