Avini’s City: Shahri Dar ‘Aaseman

November 13th, 2016

This study examines the documentary Shahri dar Aasemaan (i.e. A City in the
Sky) by the late filmmaker Seyyed Morteza Avini’s in order to establish its key elements
and argue for Avini as an auteur with a unique cinematic style that includes strong
personal and ideological elements.

Shahri dar Aasemaan, which was Avini’s last documentary, covers the initial forty-five-day battle leading to the Iraqi occupation of the Iranian city of Khorramshahr when the Iran-Iraq war broke out in October 1980. In order to better comprehend Avini as an auteur and his work, the study begins with a brief
introduction to Avini’s biography and the history of the Iran-Iraq war.
The following chapter is a comparison to The War, a seven-episode documentary by American director Ken Burns in 2007 about the Second World War.
The purpose of this comparison is to discuss Shahri dar Aasemaan in the context of another film that has documented a war at length rather than in isolation, a type of analysis that has not yet been conducted either inside or outside of Iranian borders about Avini’s films. The focus of the thesis’s remaining chapters is on Shahri dar Aasemaan as both an artistic and cultural artifact.