Germany, France


In Iran, since the revolution of 1979, women are no longer allowed to sing in public as soloists - at least in front of men.
Defying censorship and taboos, the young composer Sara Najafi is determined to organise an official concert for solo female singers. In order to support their fight, Sara and the Iranian singers Parvin Namazi and Sayeh Sodeyfi invite three female singers from Paris, Elise Caron, Jeanne Cherhal and Emel Mathlouthi, to join them in Tehran and collaborate on their musical project, re-opening a musical bridge between France and Iran.
But are they going to succeed and finally be gathered in Tehran, sing freely, side-by-side, in front of a mixed audience and without restrictions, and to open a door towards a new freedom of female voice in Iran?

Director's Statement

My sister Sara has been making music since the age of four. Watching her go through the challenges of being a female musician in Iran, and the first woman to get a diploma of composition in Iran, has led me to an awareness of the difficulties facing Iranian women in music in my country today. In this film, I want to shed light on the problems faced by a new generation of Iranian musicians. Sara’s love of music is the most important element in her everyday life. The concert that she wants to organise for and with her friends, is a group effort to confront ourselves with a dream which could finally become reality.
The role of music in all social and political developments in Iran during the 20th century has been crucial. Music represents and gives voice to the desire of each period in Iran’s history. Even though so many female singers have left Iran since the revolution in 1979, many of them still live and work in Iran. The ironic fact that many more young girls attend the music schools than boys is very surprising for me. Why are they learning something considered illegal for them? The film follows step by step the process of organising a concert in Tehran by questioning from within the system of censorship in Iran. My film highlights the limits of freedom in my native country by interrogating them head on - in front of the camera. In terms of strategy, we have operated during this long shooting, opposing Sara’s determination and "false naivety" to the prohibitions that were opposed to us. We have adopted a "politically correct" posture. This allowed us to film or (secretly) record all stages of Sara’s authorisation requests and meetings with departmental officials and religious authorities, and to highlight the logic of the censorship operated by the Iranian regime. As the film follows Sara’s fight to stage the concert, the film brings the interior, the "logic" of Iranian law to light. The musical layer of the film is centred on the revolutionary song "Bird of Dawn" (Morq-e Sahar) which singers will try to give a new voice to. This film is also a tribute to Qamar, this legendary female singer who, in the 20s, was able to break taboos in Iranian society and free the female voice, this very same fight Sara and her friends have to lead again now.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Ayat Najafi

Written by: Ayat Najafi

Produced by: Gunter Hanfgarn, Rouven Rech, Anne Grange

Cinematography: Koohyar Kalari, Sarah Blum

Editing: Julia Wiedwald, Schokofeh Kamiz

Sound Design: Oliver Stahn

Nominations and Awards

  • Documentary Selection 2015