Publication:

Mother/Country (2002)

Author(s): Gharavi T

    Abstract: Over 20 years ago, at the age of six, director Tina Gharavi left Iran and her mother, to live with her father in the West. She has not seen mother or homeland since. This intensely personal film follows her as she returns to Iran to confront her past and understand why her mother sent her away. As well as filming her own experiences, Tina employs actors to play out the roles of her and her mother as they look on, in order to facilitate communication between the pair. But as the visit draws to a close, her mother remains elusive about why she sent her away, while Tina has a bombshell of her own to drop. Mother/Country is a self-reflective documentary film, a return journey or self-portrait that deals with emotional issues that are often difficult to confront. A sister-piece to ‘Closer’, the film investigates the ‘truth’ documentaries allegedly contain. The film mines a personal autobiography in an attempt to investigate the role of reality in documentary storytelling. ‘Whose truth is this?’ the film asks. Though made for mainstream prime-time television (Channel Four in the UK), the film was ground-breaking in the devices it incorporated: from using actors in a documentary to the use of split-screen, the film becomes an exploration of a way of weaving together narrative through a seemingly effortless manipulation of images, sound and timing which draws a viewer to become an active participant in this provocative narrative. Despite being an incredibly complex film in many ways, it still succeeded in became “pick of the week” in many newspapers and the London Evening Standard said it alone justified the Alt-TV strand for Channel Four. Mother/Country is distributed by the British Council & Frameline (USA) Grand Prize: Tongues on Fire, Asian Womens’ Film Festival, ICA London March 2005 Broadcast: Channel Four Television (UK), EBS (South Korea), Sundance Channel (USA)

    Notes: Mother/Country is a self-reflective documentary film, a return journey or self-portrait that deals with emotional issues that are often difficult to confront. A sister-piece to ‘Closer’, the film investigates the ‘truth’ documentaries allegedly contain. The film mines a personal autobiography in an attempt to investigate the role of reality in documentary storytelling. ‘Whose truth is this?’ the film asks. Though made for mainstream prime-time television (Channel Four in the UK), the film was ground-breaking in the devices it incorporated: from using actors in a documentary to the use of split-screen, the film becomes a exploration of a way of weaving together narrative through a seemingly effortless manipulation of images, sound and timing which draws a viewer to become an active participant in a provocative narrative. Despite being an incredibly complex film in many ways, it still became “pick of the week” in many newspapers and the London Evening Standard said it alone justified the Alt-TV strand for Channel Four. Mother/Country is distributed by the British Council & Frameline (USA) Grand Prize: Tongues on Fire, Asian Womens’ Film Festival, ICA London March 2005 Broadcast: Channel Four Television (UK), EBS (South Korea), Sundance Channel (USA)

    • Type: DVD (Digital Video, 25')
    • Date: 2002-01-01
    • Publisher: Frameline
    • Publication type: Digital or visual media
    • Bibliographic status: Published
      Staff

      Dr Tina Gharavi
      Senior Lecturer in Digital Media/Film