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Scented Rooms
Shauheen Daneshfar

In 1979, during and after the Islamic Revolution of Iran, a vast number of cinema and theatre halls were set on fire by extremist revolutionaries or closed forever. Consequently, many artists and workers were forced to give up their professions. The phenomenon in question can be considered an effort of the government to further change the country’s cultural identity. One of the closed-down theatres was Tamashakhaneh Tehran, the country’s oldest modern theatre built in 1915. By revisiting the theatre, the film aims to draw attention to a suffocated social culture. Through patient observations and metaphoric statements, the filmmaker brings this omitted subject to the centre of attention.

Besides referencing history and factual events through the use of archive materials, interviews, and, the artist utilises poetic text and imagery besides choreographed pieces to uncover the abstract collective memory of this theatre and the era. The intention is to invite the audience to witness something silent for a long time gain expression again.

Scented Rooms narrates the story utilising poetic and metaphoric language, revisiting the theatre’s interior architecture, and skims through archive materials and historical events. The film observes ruined objects that have remained in the building. It shows original recordings from the past besides re-enactment pieces that are filmed in a theatrical space in Stockholm, representing the actors who had been oppressed and banned from working. Additionally, leaning into interviews with people, past events are being reviewed. The film avoids being merely descriptive and elevates factual references through its dedication to metaphoric language.

By using 35mm film, the film aims to reach a specific aesthetic which can convey the memory of the era. As the celluloid film on which the footage is captured has gone through a decay process, it can be considered an agent in the creation of the image and in reaching the memory of the theatre thereof.

Keywords Documentary, Essay, Society, Dance
Aspect ratio other
Prod. format 35mm
Duration 00:30:00
Language Persian
Color Color
Sound Stereo
Year 2023
Latest screening Sep 30, 2023
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About the artist

Shauheen Daneshfar

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1988, Shauheen Daneshfar is an artist, filmmaker and photographer based between Stockholm and Tehran. Working with analogue material, his works investigate memory, poetic imagery, film and still image and their intersections. His works utilize different materials and tools such as celluloid films, alternative chemical processes or other types of technological devices to achieve a poetic and melancholic aesthetic. He studied photography before joining the Iranian Youth Cinema Society (IYCS) to learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, adding to his knowledge through a cinematography bachelor’s degree at the University of Art in Tehran, he has a master’s degree in Film and Media from Stockholm University of the Arts. He co-founded the independent film company Rum Film, based in Stockholm.