The Omidvar Brothers (1954-64)

The UK and US premiere of an impossibly rare, yet superb collection of vintage colour Iranian travel documentaries.

In 1954 Issa and Abdullah Omidvar were in their twenties and growing restless in the suburbs of Tehran. In that golden age before Iran de-selected itself from the high table of western nations it was still possible for youngsters to dream ‘large’. The brothers ordered a couple of 500cc Matchless bikes (yes, they had a dealership in Tehran!) and set off to see the world and make films about it! They shot incredibly sensitive, stand-alone anthropological documentaries about Eskimos, Amazonian cannibals, Polynesian islanders and much more. They edited them on the road and then held impromptu screenings in universities, village halls and arts centres, charging an entrance fee and thus financing the next leg of the trip! Yes, they really were the original Persian DIY Adventure Motorcycle Showmen!  It’s getting over-used at this festival but seriously, you’ve never seen anything like this before!

NB the original masters of these films have been lost forever. We will be screening from the Omidvar’s ‘working’ prints that they ran through their projector. Please accept that there is substantial scratching and surface noise.

16mm colour   60 mins