No Land’s Song

Sunday, June 14 - Thursday, June 18, 2015

Q&A with filmmaker and film subject! US premiere

“The female voice is fading away.” – Sara Najafi, Iranian composer

The Islamic revolution of 1979 banned female singers from appearing in public in Iran. They are no longer allowed to perform solo, unless to an exclusively female audience. Recordings of former female icons can only be bought on the black market. But Sara Najafi is determined to refresh the cultural memory by roaming Tehran in the footsteps of famous singers of the 1920s and 1960s. She is about to revive the female voices in the present as she courageously plans an evening of Iranian and French female soloists to rebuild shattered cultural bridges—a concert that is not allowed to take place. For two-and-a-half years, director Ayat Najafi follows the preparations between Tehran and Paris that are always touch and go. What’s still possible? What goes too far? Sara’s regular meetings with the Ministry of Culture shed light on the system’s logic and arbitrariness, though officials there can only be heard and not seen. Can intercultural solidarity and the revolutionary power of music triumph? A political thriller and a musical journey, No Land’s Song never loses sight of its real center – the female voice.

Human Rights Watch has looked extensively at freedom of expression issues in Iran, including regulations imposed on artists that restrict their work and subject them to harassment, detention, prosecution, and imprisonment on “national security” related charges. Issues surrounding censorship in the arts and issues connected to women’s rights have long been a focus of Human Rights Watch’s work in Iran.

  • Country France/Germany/Iran
  • Language In English, Farsi and French with English subtitles
  • Rating NR
  • Running Time 93 minutes
  • Director Ayat Najafi