Stronger Than a Bullet
directed by Maryam Ebrahimi, Sweden 2017, 75' (English friendly)
Maryam Ebrahimi's documentary is, on the one hand, a tribute and, on the other, a warning against the incredible impact of documentary images. The subject is Iranian photographer Saeed Sadeghi, whose work includes iconic photos of volunteers from the time of the conflict with Iraq. The film perfectly captures the genuine revolutionary enthusiasm of the early years of the republic and the beginning of the war. It was then that Sadeghi took his first photographs. His reports from the front were paeans in honour of heroes who were ready to give up their lives for their revolutionary ideals. Newspapers distributed millions of copies of them, thereby awakening a hatred of the enemy that was lined with religious hysteria. Meanwhile, years passed and the war continued unabated. Younger and younger volunteers were being sent to the front lines, only to sacrifice their lives in accordance with the model being promoted by propaganda. Sadeghi continued to take pictures of them up until the moment that he understood that he had become a propaganda tool whose sole purpose was to deliver cannon fodder to the front lines. Today, he travels around the country, trying to find the few living subjects of his photographs.