Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mystic Iran, The Unseen World | The Movie

"Modern man explores the universe from the outside,
the mystic explores the universe from inside; both in search of God."

- Mystic Iran, the Movie
an eye-opening pilgrimage to spiritual enlightenment.

"My spiritual journey had taken me from the land of Ahuramazda to the realm of Allah. I came to believe there is only One God, The God of light, goodness and joy. A God who abides not on the mountains or in the oceans, Nor the cities or the sanctuaries, But in the human souls who worship there." - Aryana Farshad, Writer/ Director / Producer

Mystic Iran is a modern woman's mystical journey deep into the heart of her native country Iran, in search of spiritual rites and rituals hidden for centuries.

From the women's chamber of the great mosque, opened for the first time to the outside world. To the rituals held in the remote caves, and to the sacred dance of the Dervishes, performed in secret in the remote mountains of Kurdistan - Aryana takes you on a mesmerizing and healing journey behind closed doors, and far beyond the ordinary world, exploring the mystic powers of this ancient land.

[>] click here to watch a short clip
[>] watch women dervish gathering and intense trance via Youtube from the movie.

When asked, how you ever got the dervishes to consent to being filmed? There must have been some very memorable experiences that you had while making this film. Can you tell us about some of them? Tell us about that lady dervish whom I consider the star of your film. You know the one who was baking bread. She was awesome. The filmaker answers:

. Yes, you mean Aisha. We gave her the code name Aisha. The most memorable experience I had was with Aisha.

In 2000, I had gone to Kurdistan and Sanandaj many times, location scouting for the film. The first trip, I interviewed only male dervishes. They were very kind. We smoked cigarettes together, which made our Kurdish guide very nervous. They promised to think it over about being filmed, but no answer.

One day, our Kurdish guide asked me if I wanted to meet women dervishes in Sanandaj. I ended up joining in their rituals. I am not a spectator but rather a participant in life. After my participation with them, the Khalife agreed to the filming at a later date. Some time later the Khalife invited me and my crew to join her group of women dervishes on a pilgrimage, which we did. We started out at 3 AM following behind them in a mini bus from Sanadaj to the village of Najar. We did not arrive there until 9 pm... it was a very long and mountainous drive.

When we got there, we saw a huge Sufi center. I went to the second floor, which was the women's center. It was a dorm style room, covered with kelims on the floor. The women dervishes started the sema. I decided to take a picture, forgetting that they were taking their scarves off. Most unfortunately my flash went off and all the women dervishes started shouting: "film, film" and covered over their heads with scarves. Khalife told me to sit quiet. I went to the corner and kept quiet. Everyone quietly went off to sleep. I realized that I had disrupted the ceremony.

One of woman dervishes, Aisha, was still in trance and she was "speaking in tongues." I was alone with them as everyone else was asleep. I was worried about Aisha. She kept crying, lamenting and growling.

Presently as her friend came around, I asked her why Aisha was in that state. I found out that her Sema was interrupted and she was stuck in trance and needed to finish the cycle of sema. I went down stairs and asked Sheik Najar's daughter in law to join the circle and play the Daf. Aisha went through the trance and dancing. Gradually one by one the women dervishes sleeping next door awoke and joined the circle of Sama. We finished around 4:30 in the morning. I got close to Aisha and her friend after this episode. The scene of fire eating happened the next day, at 6am, while she was baking bread for the retreat. (full interview here)

. Mystic Iran official site.
. Aryana Production
. review of Mystic Iran, the Unseen World
. film review via Spirituality & Practice
. an interview with the film maker Aryana Farshad
. you may buy the movie via Best Prices, alternatively from here. Pin It Now!