Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mystic Iran The Unseen World|
Actors: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Farshad Aryana
Director: Aryana Farshad
Join filmmaker Aryana Farshad on a mesmerizing journey deep into the heart of her native Iran. Shot entirely on location, this unprecedented cinematic tour reveals spiritual rites and rituals hidden for centuries. From the... more »
Great intro for most...
Ali | Terra Firma | 02/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD was a great intro, for most, about the mysticism of mainly Islam, namely Sufism. There was very little time spent on the original religion of Iran and/or Persia: Zoroasterianism. Most of the DVD was on the Dervishes of Kurdistan, in Iran, and their traditions. I would almost strike out the verbiage about the Zoroasterians and their traditions on the DVD description and focus mostly on the traditions of Dervishes and Sufis of Iran. As an Iranian, I was somewhat familiar with the topic and was really looking forward to learning more and delving into the traditions of my country's native religion of Zoroasterian."
"Exploring The Universe From The Inside"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 12/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The '02 DVD documentary `Mystic Iran: The Unseen World' transports the viewer to the land of the Sufi's, a place steeped in mystical beliefs and traditions that have either sprung out of the Islamic faith or preceded it, some of these ancient teachings and practices predating the prophet Moses.
Travel through modern day Tehran with narrator Shohreh Aghdashloo, followed by a journey down the road-less-traveled to remote, all but forgotten locations where the Sufi's dwell and the voices of Cyrus the Great and Zarathustra still echo.
The landscape is exotic, the music entrancing and the narration soothing and informative. There is also some wonderful footage taken of ceremonies, trance states and sacred sites never before seen in the western world. Not quite as comprehensive as I would have liked but still a wonderful place to start if you have ever wondered about the Sufi faith.
It's unfortunate that his DVD is now out-of-print and quite expensive. Hopefully this injustice will be remedied sometime in the not too distant future; -5 Stars-."
C. Carroll | San Francisco, CA | 03/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just saw this film on PBS last night. I was truly blown away. Taken on it's own merits, this film is a transcendent and fascinating portrait of modern Sufists and Zoroastrianists (sp?), particularly focusing on a sect of travelling female dervishes in modern Iran. These are religious groups that are somewhat secretive, and not usually seen by outsiders, so this was a truly unique opportunity to be able to film them during their daily lives and the rituals they practice.
After watching it, I felt that the documentary was a bit too short to focus on an overview of the mysical and spiritual traditons of Iran. Indeed these groups seem to be sort of lumped together in the film-maker's presentation. I also felt that the narrative, while it was quite interesting, did not go deeply enough into the history and beliefs of these groups, and tended toward mystical exposition about 'God' to explain the transcendent practices of the dervishes. This is a minor criticism, and not enough to make the film un-watchable, but I wish there was a more scholarly exploration of these seperate groups and their rich histories within Iran, and some mention of the mystical religious beliefs of other groups not covered in this film. I think from the title I expected a broad overview of Iran's mystical heritage, but it is an exploration of a few Sufist and Zoroastrianist sects, and the rituals these people use. I did feel that the filmmakers got a very unique opportunity to film these sects, particularly the female dervishes, who usually worship in private and to my knowledge have never allowed themselves to be filmed by outsiders before. It is impressive that they were allowed to follow these women into their homes and see things not seen by outsiders.
The filmmaker does show some of the more extreme practices of the believers, particularly as one dervish woman goes into a trance while she is cooking, as another woman begins chanting. She is drawn to the fire, sticking her hands into it, dancing on the coals, and grabbing a large, burning piece of wood to swallow the fire. As another viewer mentioned, this may seem very bizarre to some western viewers. I personally feel that the inclusion of these scenes should have merited more explanations of the underlying beliefs and practices, or perhaps have been shown with no narration. As it is presented, the viewer is left with many questions, and a somewhat lop-sided perspective of these people's beliefs. I do feel the film itself is quite good, but I find that the footage is not fully done justice by the perspective given by the filmmaker's narrative.
I do recommend this film to students of religion and people interested in the roots of mystical tradition in Ancient Persia and how it survives today in modern Iran. Perhaps the viewer will be compelled to read some of the source scholarship themselves to provide a broader perspective to the sects portrayed here."