President Mir QanbarRaiees Jomhour Mir Ghanbar
IRAN / 2005 / Persian / Color / Video / 70 min
Director, Editing, Producer: Mohammad Shirvani
Photography: Hooman Behmanesh
Sound: Behrooz Abedini
Music: Mohammad Reza Darvishi
Appearance: Mir Qanbar Heidari
Production Company, World Sales: Royabeen Media
In the remote countryside, an elderly Mir Qanbar has persistently tried to become the president of Iran. A camera crew travels with him as he continues his candidacy. His election campaign is simple and innocent: a red flag fluttering and megaphone in hand, he pedals his rickety bicycle from village to village accompanied by his sole supporter Seifollah. On their dusty bicycle tour they occasionally hand out leaflets to villagers they meet and try to give speeches. We see members of Mir Qanbar’s family, seemingly uninterested in the election, reply to the crew’s interview. An unexplainable yet comical sorrow floats through the Iranian country air.
[Director’s Statement] The primary goal of making this film was to show a slice of the current status of Iran’s socio-political development and how through different ways, people are craving to have a role in building their own future. Participation in elections is one of these ways, and it is the only means to achieve this goal.
From another angle, this film depicts the wishful endeavors of a nation that has apparently started a movement, but does not seem to be going anywhere beyond the pre-determined boundaries in which they are confined. It is a movement sad and disappointing in essence, and that does not yield anything for the ones who are pushing it forward. It is a movement that is more of a vicious circle than socio-political reform.
And now, Mir Qanbar, a 75-year-old rustic countryman, with his simplistic patriarchal views and childlike innocence, is under the illusion that he is the one who will be the savior of this nation. And it is a nation that has always been looking for a hero to come and unify it. This is why Mir Qanbar is entering the realm of politics and runs for president.
Mohammad Shirvani (center)
Born 1973 in Tehran to a middle-class and religious family who did not approve of cinema, in his childhood, Mohammad Shirvani took to painting and drama. Undoubtedly, his numerous appearances on theatrical stage changed this shy and reserved teenager into an outgoing and active public figure. His father, an army man, enrolled him in the military academy to avoid the compulsory draft during the Iran-Iraq war, but that meant he had to work for the army for a period of ten years. He ran away from the military school after seven years of compulsory work for the army, and made his first short film. Since then he has been pursuing a professional career as a filmmaker and producer. Shirvani has participated in over seventy international film festivals, received twenty-six national and six international awards. His works include The Circle (1999), The Candidate (2000), To Consent (2001), Souvenir (2001), The Cherries Which Were Canned (2002), Navel (2004) and Where’s Leili (2005).