Iranian filmmaker Arman Karkhanei first came to our attention with his unofficial music video for Apparat’s Goodbye. This beautiful and abstract performance piece brought his native Iran to life. While presenting a very contemporary art form, he captures the essence of a thousand years.
“Our memories of love often take on the consistency of a dream or hallucination,” says TikiKiti writer Chandler.
“Karkhanei conveys the elusive, ineffable qualities of that feeling through precision art direction and utmost patience.”
After we saw this video, we asked Karkhanei to develop a music video for “Twin Cinema” by the New Pornographers.* He turned a pop song into an experimental short film that won him praise from festivals worldwide (including the TikiKiti International Film Festival.)
“We enjoyed every second of creating this project,” Karkhanei says. “Our team’s goal was to tell a touching and meaningful story that is parallel to the song. We were honored to win awards from 13 international festivals, and we won eight certificates.”
Karkhanei says that as a director and writer, he tries to stay up to date with events that are happening around the world. “In my stories I try to add fantasy and biomechanics art methods**. I love (Vsevolod) Meyerhold’s method in theatrical art and cinema. So when I combine modern subjects with these theatrical grotesque methods it becomes a postmodern type of film. I enjoy using metaphor and conceptual art in my projects and I find I’m good at it.”
Karkhanei has a new website —www.gestiqe.com — where he hopes to continue to display his work. “Unfortunately, there is a big economic crisis in our country,” he says. “It is very difficult even to make enough money to handle our basic needs such as food, homes, and clothes. I know it seems weird, but we literally have no gas to be warm in winter because of sanctions.”
Karkhanei and many other Iranian artists have stopped any creative activities until there is progress toward freedom. “I personally have stopped my latest project, a feature film called Joker,” he says. “As an artist it is very painful to go away from my art, but in order to respect mothers and families that have lost their loved ones and children — it is the least I can do.”
Arman Karkhanei is a unique and talented film maker. We hope the situation in his home country changes to allow him — and other artists — to continue their work. From what we have seen, Arman has the strength to weather this storm.
*As might be expected, the name of the group caused some confusion at first. Some names just don’t translate in a way one might expect.
**Biomechanics was a system of actor training developed by Vsevolod Meyerhold. Its purpose was to widen the emotional potential of a theater piece and express thoughts and ideas that could not be easily presented through the naturalistic theater of the period.
***Vsevolod Emilyevich Meyerhold was a Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer of German descent. His provocative experiments dealing with physical being and symbolism in an unconventional theatre setting made him one of the seminal forces in modern international theatre.