Romania, Croatia


Romania in the late 1970s. Zahra and Maria form a close bond while studying medicine together at university in the capital Bucharest. But when Iranian Zahra senses a wind of change from her homeland, she quits university and returns to Tehran full of revolutionary aspirations. Separated by both the physical distance and uncertainty of two political regimes on the verge of collapse, the two friends must correspond and report on their daily lives via letters. Between Revolutions is a bittersweet, intimate memoir of people’s struggle for a brighter future and of two people’s unfailing friendship – created entirely from archive footage and tied together by a colorful soundtrack.

Director's Statement

BETWEEN REVOLUTIONS is a film made exclusively from archives, which mirrors the lives and destinies of two women, university colleagues and friends, one from Romania and the other from Iran, living in two patriarchal societies. It is a hybrid film that mixes archives and real documents with fictional elements, having at its core the correspondence between these two women. The text of the letters is inspired by archives from the Secret Police and by the poems of two important female writers from Romania and Iran - Nina Cassian and Forugh Farrokhzad and is written by one of the most talented Romanian contemporary writers - Lavinia Braniște. I started working on this film more than 3 years ago, after reading a study about the foreign students living in Romania during the communist period. I was mostly interested in the people who came from the Middle East to study in a closed country like Romania at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s. During those years, Romania had a policy of openness towards countries that were part of the non-aligned movement, encouraging the enrollment of foreign students in exchange for economic and infrastructure projects that involved Romanian workers and engineers. In addition to the general aspects, I was also interested in the personal stories. I talked at length with my mother about her student years. She was enrolled at the Medicine University in the late 70s. She showed me photographs from her student years, we discussed politics, daily lives and about her colleagues from other countries. I was always curious how Romania was perceived by an outsider during those years, being a communist country, so different from the capitalistic, western societies. Besides this, I wanted to know more about my mother's routine, about her hopes and dreams, about all the hardships a woman had to endure at that time.
I was born in 1979, the year when the Iranian revolution took place and I was 10 years old when the revolution in my country happened, an event that I watched live on TV with my parents. These two events represented for me some kind of historical landmarks and I still believe that the revolution against the Shah's dictatorship in Iran and the one in Romania against the Ceaușescu regime are some of the most important political events of the 20th century. All these things together gradually built up to what is now the film BETWEEN REVOLUTIONS, a film that mixes politics with poetry, intimate stories with state-controlled propaganda, letters with archives. For me BETWEEN REVOLUTIONS is a film about a recent past, which reverberates very strongly with the immediate, current reality. It is a film that presents a subjective, feminine history of two
countries and societies that experimented with different political systems, an Islamic and Communist
one, in which people were gradually crushed by the repressive political apparatus. It is a film that
resonates with the recent events in Iran, where women are fighting again for their rights, just as
they did in 1979. Their cry now, even if not present in the film, expresses what Zahra and Maria also
want: "Zan, Zendegi, Azadi!" - "Woman, Life, Freedom!"

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Vlad Petri

Written by: Vlad Petri, Lavinia Braniste

Main Producer: Monica Lazurean-Gorgan

Editing: Dragos Apetri, Vlad Petri, Catalin Cristutiu

Nominations and Awards

  • Documentary Selection 2023