Mystic Iran: The Unseen World is a look at the country once known as the heart of the
empire. Filmmaker and narrator
Aryana Farshad, whose roots are in the East but lives in the
West, begins her spiritual journey in Tehran. She examines the social evolution that occurs underneath
public and privates restrictions based on Islamic law. Women wear fashionable
clothes underneath their traditional covering garb. Filmmakers, poets, and
intellectuals alike strive to define themselves in the ever-changing world. The
struggle between East and West is more pronounced in the capital city, and as
she moves deeper into the desert and countryside she grows closer to the heart
of this ancient land.
Iran became introduced to Islam in the 7th Century; before
then it was inhabited by Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians (among others.) The
influence of Mohammed's teaching spread quickly (as it did elsewhere), and the
phenomenal mosques of Qom as displayed here are absolutely breathtaking. Jewels,
shaped glass, intricate patterns and geometric shapes merge to create
breathtaking artifacts and pieces of architecture. I marveled at the desert
landscapes, ancient fortresses and temples, hidden sanctuaries, majestic
mountain ranges, the hypnotic motions of whirling dervishes, and remnants
of ancient civilizations.
And just as it's getting interesting... it's over.
This is a fifty-one minute presentation, a hint of an essence, introductory
passages to an ancient world filled with life, history, conflict, and
culture that requires much more time than what is allotted on this disc.
Mystic Iran: The Unseen World is a fascinating and worthwhile program
that should be expanded into a longer format: a mini-series, a series of
specials, etc., but as a single DVD I find the package slightly
Mystic Iran: The Unseen World was originally shot on videotape, and is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame
aspect ratio. The presentation is acceptable, but not without its
flaws. There is a fair amount of shimmering and video noise throughout the
presentation. Contrasts are reasonable but not quite as pronounced as they
should be, while colors often appear slightly drab and lifeless. The
presentation isn't flawless, but it presents an overall acceptable (if not
exceptional) representation of the video.
The audio is presented in monaural Dolby Digital 2.0.
While the dialog comes across reasonably warm and natural sounding, the score
sounds a little thin at times. Otherwise, the audio mix is reasonable and suits
the presentation quite well.
The DVD contains previews for The
Circle, Maryam, and Marooned in Iraq, a DVD Offer
for 10% of your first order from The Video Collection,
Weblinks to Aryana Farshad's official web site, Irandokht,
Planet Pictures, and Wellspring, and the DVD production
I want more of Mystic Iran: The Unseen
World! The material included on this disc is extremely compelling,
bringing the Western viewer into a world seldom (if ever) seen. As a
big admirer of the poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi, I was especially transfixed
and mesmerized by the extensive segments devoted to the whirling dervishes. But
the program remains too short. As it stands, Mystic
Iran: The Unseen World is a fine program that deserves to be seen, but the
DVD lacks too much content to justify its $25 retail cost.