Forced Confessions

Maziar Bahari

England 2012, 58min.

In 2009 filmmaker Maziar Bahari was forced to make a false confession, supposedly having collaborated with the West, and accused of espionage. Many intellectuals, writers, philosophers and journalists preceded Bahari since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The director’s own voice-over and interviews with fellow Iranians who have been through the same ordeal guide the viewer through the history of forced confessions in Iran. No Iranian believes any of them but the ruling regime continues to use them.

Maziar Bahari

Making films under repressive regimes is a huge challenge. Making films about repressive regimes presents challenges of its own. While Morning Fears Night Chants presents a concealed singer’s experience of and contribution to a revolution from the inside, Forced Confessions is a personal indictment of a regime escaped. In both cases, the conditions in which the films were produced are reflected in the films’ styles.

Bahari grew up in Iran and witnessed the 1979 Revolution as a youngster. Studying abroad and working for foreign media made him the ideal scapegoat when another one was needed. During the 2009 ‘green’ protests following the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he was arrested, accused of working for the West and of espionage – he was subsequently tortured, and forced to make a false confession in public, like many of his fellow journalists, academics and other intellectuals.

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