Paris-Tehran. Forced to leave Tehran after the controversial elections in 2009, 24-year-old Anahita desperately relies on her laptop and smartphone to stay connected to the friends shaping the revolutionary movement in her homeland. Captivated by Anahita's urgency and sense of purpose, Rachid—a young French-Algerian bellhop at her luxury Parisian hotel—tries to impress her with videos of his improvisational, parkour-style dance moves on YouTube. Secretly envious of his laissez-faire ways, Anahita dismisses Rachid's apolitical outlook on the world and draws him into her obsessive preoccupation with the citizen-journalist digital reports of government brutality and the rapidly unfolding events. While political struggle is abstract for Rachid, it is the only footing on which he can meet Anahita—and the two begin a passionate and rootless love affair grounded in small acts of protest.
Inspired by the innovative strategies Iranian students used to mobilize the green movement against government-imposed bans, David Dusa powerfully and viscerally binds a fictional romance with real footage collected from YouTube, Google Video, and Twitter, personalizing anonymous images of violence and testifying to the revolutionary potential of the Internet.
Director's Statement Collapse
The desire to tell this story was born from the desire of the Iranian people to tell theirs. The presidential election in Iran in June 2009 turned out to be rigged. The citizens took to the streets to ventilate their anger and demand reform. The Islamic government, worried about the image conveyed, arrested journalists and stopped them from doing their work. The demonstrations, unprecedented in size since the Islamic revolution in 1979, were quelled in blood.
In this situation, the citizens took over the function of the press by collecting and broadcasting information through websites like YouTube and Twitter. The brutal images and the shocking information reached the world public directly and without analysis, demanding the audience to form his or her own opinion. Simultaneously, the demonstrators were using Twitter to organize their resistance, programming massive and coordinated actions: "At 8:56, everybody must switch off all electric appliances and turn them on at 9:00 to short-circuit the Tehran power supply." Little by little, the world's most influential news outlets started reading Twitters to find information about Iran. Suddenly, a social networking website became a geopolitical issue: Hillary Clinton asked Twitter to delay its update so that the Iranian people could keep communicating.
Since June 2009 we have been collecting videos and texts from the Internet and working together with YouTube, Google Video, Twitter and other specialized websites to try and put together a very intimate and personal view on the violence in Iran, far from the usual abstract and formatted images we are used to see on TV from riots around the world. This was our starting point: the impact of a new democratic medium of communication both on the perception of a historical fact and its unfolding.
This revolution is at the heart of Flowers of Evil. We make a film from the films broadcast on YouTube and bind them into a love story. The movie strives to personalize the anonymous images from the Internet, in order to make them intimate for a new audience. The small story gives substance to history and makes it more humane. The material we shot with the actors in Paris feeds the images from Iran, and makes them accessible for all.
About the Director(s)Collapse
DAVID DUSA was born in Budapest, grew up in Sweden and South Africa, and studied film in Göteborg. He has won awards for his short films in festivals worldwide, including Rotterdam, Berlinale Talent Campus, and Clermont-Ferrand. Dusa is currently preparing his second feature, Cacheux Malor.