Despite the threat of mines, assassination, and death by dehydration and starvation, determined Shiite Muslims - as many as 3,000 a day - have been pouring across the Iran-Iraq border since the fall of the Iraqi government. They risk their lives for only one reason: to visit the holy city of Karbala, fifty miles south of Baghdad. This city houses the magnificent shrine of seventh-century leader Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhamed. Hussein died in a battle in 681, a martyr to the Shiite faith. The intense devotion of these pilgrims to Imam Hussein and Karbala astounds outside observers at the same time that it puts the Iranian government in a major predicament. Torn between bureaucracy and allegiance to Islam, Tehran is continually revising its emigration policies, periodically opening and then closing its border. Meanwhile people are dying, and chaos reigns at crossing points.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER:
Director Bahman Kiarostami was born in Tehran in 1978 and started his work as an assistant director in 1996. His films include The Anonymous (2007), Re-enactment (2006), Pilgrimage (2005), and Infidels (2004). They have been shown internationally on television and in film festivals and focus on the political power of faith inside contemporary Iranian culture, eloquently exploring the complex layers of religious belief in Iranian society. ;; His latest film is Statues of Tehran (2008).
About Bridge to Iran
Bridge to Iran is a unique new series on Link TV that showcases documentary films by contemporary independent Iranian filmmakers who live and work in Iran. This nationally-broadcast series will provide a fresh view of what ordinary Iranians are concerned about and the issues they grapple with. The series covers a wide-ranging scope of subjects: first-hand accounts by young girls facing womanhood within an Islamic society; religious pilgrims who risk their lives to visit a holy site in war-torn Iraq; rural life and political awareness; and an energetic and surprising exploration of Tehran as a mega metropolis.
This is the first time an American television channel has presented a series of documentary films about Iran by Iranian filmmakers. The result is a shattering of our preconceived ideas about a nation and culture that most Americans have little or no real knowledge or experience of. Each documentary in the series will be introduced by Salome Azizi, the Bridge to Iran series host, with comments from each filmmaker, who will provide additional context and background.