Infidels (Koffar)

by Bahman Kiarostami

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The Godars are gypsies who migrated from India to Iran; they share the same heritage as the gypsies who moved into eastern and western Europe and into the Middle East. No one knows when or why the Godars arrived in Iran. Some believe that King Bahram Goor, ask who reigned in the fifth century, here sent for a large number of Indian musicians to entertain his subjects. Another version suggests that the army of Nader Shah (ruler from 1736 to 1747) brought with it a group of Indian dancers, look performers, musicians and prostitutes upon its return from a successful campaign.

The tribe speaks Chuleh, which is a combination of Sunscrit, Mazandarani, and Farsi. Their original religion, Animism, was based the belief that natural objects and phenomena possess souls. During the Islamic Revolution, they were forced to convert. They are now officially Shiate Muslims, but they do not practice the rituals of Islam.

Director: Bahman Kiarostami
Producer: Marjaneh Moghimi
Cinematography: Morteza Poursamadi
Editor: Bahman Kiarostami
Sound: Dana Farzanehpour
Original Score: Reza Derakhshani
Scholar: Jahangeer Ashrafi

In Farsi with English Subtitles/2003

Official Selection: International Film Festival, Rotterdam, Tribeca Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival

Bahman Kiarostami
Bahman was born in Tehran in 1978. He started working as an assistant director in 1996. His documentary films have focused on the political power of faith inside contemporary Iranian culture and eloquently explore the comples layers of religious significance in the Iranian controversial society. He has collaborated with Butimar Productions on numerous award winning films such as Pilgrimage, Infidels, Persian Gardens and Kamancheh. For a complete list of his films please visit:

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.


Born in 1957, in Behshar, a city located in Northern Iran, Jahangeer Ashrafi is a scholar of Iranian Folklore and Ethnology. He has organized many festivals, including the “Kooch” fesitval in 2002, which showcased the tribal music and musicians of Iran. He has also published various books, including The History of Performance in Iran, in ten volumes, as well as the Dictionary of Mazandarani, a regional dialect, in five volumes. His most recent contribution is Ghoghnoos, a project documenting musical recordings of Ta’zieh, a form of indigenous music and religious drama associated with Iranian mourning rituals.


Reza Derakshani was born in 1952 in Sangsar, Iran. He is a vocalist and virtuoso of several Persian instruments, including tar, setar, ney, kamancheh, and guitar. Infused with an Eastern sensibility and employing Eastern instrumentation, Derakshani’s music is seductive yet devotional. He combines elements of ancient Persian and contemporary musical approaches, as well as World Music from Morocco, Africa and India; and Western jazz, rock, and classical music to create new sounds that bridge these diverse cultures. Derakshani has performed with musicians such as John Densmore of the Doors, David Darling, Brandford Marsalis, Madonna, Clara Ponti, and Steve Shehan (percussionist for Paul Simon) among others.

Koffar (Infidels) is being distributed by France based DOC & CO. For more distribution information, please contact:

att: Catherine Le Clef
13 rue Portefoin
Paris, 75003 France
Tel: + 33-1-42 77 56 87