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Arnolfini - est 1961

A film by Niyaz Saghari. 72 minutes, Iran/UK (2020). Includes a Q and A with the director.

A story of passionate love of cinema, a generation of youth in search of film, the film dealers, the friendships, and the price paid.

VHS Diaries is the tale of illegal home movies and the adventures of finding and accessing black market videos in post-revolution Iran, during the Iran/Iraq war, and the post-war era when the ban on video was finally lifted but foreign and art house films still remained illegal. It is the story of the love of cinema in times of restriction, the communities of cinema lovers, the influential cinema characters and the price they paid under state oppression.

Using her archival material from the era, interviews with cinephiles and domestic VHS film distributors (‘Filmi’, as they were called) , Niyaz Saghari creates a collective history of video in Iran through the sounds and memories of the first post-revolution generation. VHS Diaries is collage of sound and images, a story in three chapters.

Niyaz Saghari is a UK based Iranian filmmaker. She studied Film Directing in Tehran Art University, Cinema-Theatre Department, and followed this by joining the M.A animation course in Newport in UK. She has been directing independent documentary and experimental films since. Her work is focused on the urban life in her home town of Tehran, and Bristol where she is based. She is a member of BEEF (Bristol Experimental Expanded Film) collective.

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