Review: Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran (Short Film)

When westernized music is taboo in one’s country, how far will someone go to purse his/her dreams?

This is the plot of a new short film by Iranian-born director, Farbod Arebili. “Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran” is a 20-minute short highlighting gender inequality among women in Iran since the major government revolution in 1979. Arebili’s flick focuses on the frontwoman character, Shima, who is a part of an underground death metal band in a country like Iran where westernized music is forbidden. Shima is faced with making a choice between living with her family in Iran and safely becoming a famous performer outside of the country.

In an area where women are prohibited from singing and performing – and much more – Shima and her band take a risk daily to do what they love without getting caught by one of the strictest governments in the world.

The death metal singer and her bandmates drum up a plan to leave Iran and continue performing but in countries where they are welcome. They decide to host an underground performance and then call the cops once a crowd of concert goes arrive – in hopes that the raid will secure the band asylum in another country.

Viewers can follow along the subtitles in this movie. While the movie just 20 minutes long, viewers will get a glimpse at the harsh realities and the brutal consequences women (and men) currently face in Iran. This movie brings drama and pain in its storyline, including an even more shocking and emotional ending. But I’m hopeful viewers will gain an appreciation for artists around the world who are truly voiceless in their home countries. Movies like this help raise awareness for a concept many of us take for granted in the U.S., and there’s still a lot of work to be done for others to have the same freedom as us.

“Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran” has screened at a variety of film festivals including the Oscar qualifying Cleveland International Film Festival.

Director/Writer/Songwriter Farbod Ardebili has been residing in the US since 2014. He is a Sundance Fellow and has written and directed several award-winning shorts. Ardebili has been recognized by numerous international film festivals such as Fantastic Fest, Cleveland International Film Festival, Show Me Shorts, Calgary International Film Festival, Sun Valley Film Festival, and many more.

Producer Viktorija Razevska is an LA-based Director/Producer experienced in film development and production on over 75 projects (HBO, Comedy Central, MTV) including producing over 40 short films and two feature films (They Say It Can’t Be Done, Yinz). She recently completed production directing for W Magazine and is currently in pre-production for three films she will be directing in mid 2021, in addition to completing her fourth episode of her art film series A Study in Discovery.

Co-producer Soroush Arayesh is an Iranian filmmaker. In the past few years, he has produced several short films which have screened at numerous renowned film festivals such as Cleveland International, Festival du nouveau cinéma, and Fantastic Fest.

Cinematographer Masoud Amini Tirani has participated in festivals such as Cannes Film Festival, Rotterdam Festival and Tehran International Film Festival.

Forbidden To See Us Scream In Tehran will be screening at the Oscar qualifying festivals Calgary International Film Festival from Sept 24th – Oct 3rd and Show Me Shorts Film Festival from Oct 1st – Oct 21st. It will also be screening at SENE film festival from Oct 12th – Oct 16th.

Note: Featured image was sent to us from the filmmakers.