Behjat Sadr: Time Suspended

by Mitra Farahani

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  • Trailer
  • Details
  • Behjat Sadr
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Executive Producer
  • Music Composer


Behjat Sadr is one of the pioneers and masters of modern art in Iran. This film is a journey into the life and works of a poetic and brilliant painter. Ms. Sadr guides us through her intense, find compelling canvases, order musing on her process, pharmacy her influences, and her complicated relationship with fame and mortality. Her highly abstract mind wanders into dark, mysterious beautiful spaces, and the camera follows her, providing visual access and correlatives to her imagination.

Iran / Color / 2006
Total Running Time: 46 minutes

Screening formats; Beta SP NTSC and DV CAM PAL
In Farsi with English or French subtitles

Director: Mitra Farahani
Producer: Marjaneh Moghimi
Executive Producer: Fereydoun Firouz
Editor: Bahman Kiarostami
Cinematographer: Mitra Farahani and Bahman Kiarostami
Composer: Iman Vaziri
Sound Mix: Amir Hussein Ghassemi

Behjat Sadr is one of Iran’s great hidden treasures. With a career spanning more than fifty years, she is one of only a handful of women artists to have received international accolades for their work. Her powerful, unusually constructed abstract paintings have been selected for the Venice Biennial and for gallery and museum exhibitions in Brazil, Canada, France, Iran, Italy, and the U.S. Most recently she was the subject of a major retrospective at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and was featured on the cover of Aujour d’hui magazine.

Born in 1924 in Arak, Sadr began studying painting at Tehran University in 1948. Two years later she left for Italy where she studied at the Roberto Melli Academy and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. In 1956 she joined the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University where she remained until two years after the Revolution. At this time she moved to Paris where her works were exhibited alongside those of renowned artists Joseph Beuys and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

Sadr’s work continues to evolve over time; indeed one of the distinguishing characteristics of her oeuvre is the artist’s continual search for new and innovative techniques. Rhythm is very important to her work and she is known for her innovative techniques. She has covered the surface of a canvas with black paint and then selectively scraped it away to develop shapes and textures. She has mixed oil painting with photographs, figures with abstractions, working in a variety of media from canvas and oil to wood, metal, and other materials. The final product often blurs the distinctions between painting and sculpture.

Mitra Farahani
Mitra was born in Tehran in 1975. She studied painting and drawing with various Iranian masters of pictorial art, notably with Gholam Hossein Nami. After receiving a degree in graphic art at the Azad University in Tehran, she moved to Paris and took up residence in the Cite Internationale des Arts. In 2001, she began a course of video studies at the Ecole Natioanale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs, where she made her first documentary entitled “Just a Woman”. The film was chosen for Berlin Film Festival and was awarded the Teddy Awards Special Jury Prize. Her documentary “Zohre and Manouchehr” (Taboos) was presented at the Berlin Film Festival of 2004 and was later shown in cinemas in France and Canada. In 2005 she made the documentary “Behjat Sadr: Suspended Time”, a portrait of one of the pioneers of abstract expressionist painting in Iran. In 2009, as part of the Three Continents Festival, Le Lieu Unique in Nantes presented her one-person multi-disciplinary exhibition. Her latest documentary film, Fifi Howls from Happiness, on painter Bahman Mohassess, premiered at the 2013 Berlin and Telluride film Festival.

Marjaneh Moghimi
Marjaneh is the founder of Butimar Productions and has produced numerous award-wining documentaries with acclaimed directors such as Michael Apted, Bahman Kiarostami, Justine Shapiro, and Mitra Farahani.  Her latest collaboration was with renowned director Bahram Beyzaie on his shadow-play Jana and Baladoor.

Fereydoun Firouz
Fereydoun Firouz is an entrepreneur and an avid lover and supporter of Iranian artistic and cultural heritage.

Iman Vaziri was born in Iran in 1970. He studied music at Tehran University in Iran and Koeln University in Germany. His CDs include Piano Quartet (2000), Chamber Music(2002), Tar Solo (2004), Iranian Dastgah Music for Children(2006), Duets and Trios (2006).