Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a silent documentary, or at least without dialogue - this is a textual monologue, and a desperate one. Ashura is the day of grief in the Shia Islamic calendar, and there is grief, or the fear of it here.

Soraya was visiting family in Iran. She went to the protests in Tehran, and did not return. Back in Edinburgh, her fiancé, David, becomes increasingly worried. He emails her, hopefully, to no avail. We see streets in Edinburgh as his words unfold, shots of Iran as he tells her of a dream. The work of Roxana Pope and Maryam Ghorbankarimi serving as a channel for David's words. Peter Vilk's sound work is crisp, and the music by Moussa Kamali and Shoja Ashari is evocative.

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Primarily textual, its weakness is in the transcription - it's uncertain if errors or mispellings are from the original or introduced, and for a subject this affecting it's unfortunate.

Dated to early 2010, there is a question inherent in it. Soraya's fate is unknown, and while this is a short film it carries within it the seeds of dread, hope, and waiting. Sorrowful, and inducing self-reflection, it is a powerful film.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2010
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Film borne out of artist's residency with Edinburgh Mela.
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Director: Roxana Pope

Year: 2010

Runtime: 6 minutes

Country: UK, Iran

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