Seconds Of Lead

Seconds Of Lead


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Narges Abgur is a prolific Iranian author. She decides that her 25th book should be on Black Friday - 8th September 1978 when dozens of protestors were massacred by government forces in Jahleh Square, Tehran.

We come in just as Abgur is researching various films covering the time. She's taken with a documentary of the time, Day of God, and in particular a striking young projectionist telling his story of that day. She's taken with him and his image - a haunted-looking young man, combined with "that Cinema Paradiso feeling - it's quite interesting". The documentary filmmakers invite themselves along to Abgur's efforts to locate the projectionist - in spite of brief protests detailing the reasons not to come. They are both persistent, yet accepting of one another.

Abgur uncovers Shahed Soltani Azad, director of Day of God, and he tells us the story of interviewing the young unnamed projectionist. There's a moment where he tells them aloud "I want to say something, but please don't record it."

Seconds Of Lead is a chronicle of detective work between Abgur and Soltani as they track down the elusive projectionist. When they track down his 30-years older double, he denies being the man in question. But Abgur is persistent, and his eyes betray his lifetime of guilt; he's reticent but eventually willing to confess. We see artefacts from the time; aged, faded and scratched films of people running, falling and being dragged from the square. The medium is a time capsule, a documented moment, perpetually frozen in time.

It's a roughly shaped documentary with many more moments left in than are necessary to tell the story: several persuasion attempts, Abgur's car being rear-ended and (strangely!) her difficulty of getting her stove to light. It's a modest showcase of a community of those who seek out stories, those who can share them, and those who show them. It highlights their shared humanity.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2013
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A cinema projectionist remembers witnessing a massacre.

Director: Seyed Reza Razavi

Year: 2012

Runtime: 70 minutes

Country: Iran


EIFF 2013

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