On Wednesday afternoon, July 26th , 20th Circuit Suspects, a documentary , directed byHesam Eslami was shown in The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and was open to public.
The story is about a few young people that are fallen to a delinquent life style .
The beginning and the end of the movie focuses on the current situation of Ehsan’s life as
one of the members of a gang who apparently has recently distanced himself from the rest.
But the movie is mostly about the lives , the activities and the experiences of these young
perpetrators. Like, the scenes of robbery and their attendance in NGO ( The Society of
Defending Children of Streets and Labor) .
Although this movie is full of stunning moments, but I was struck a little before watching
the movie . It was when I first saw a photo of Ehsan and his friend and the poster of the
screening movie at the police office. The amazing point is that I took this photo during
the same time that I was making a movie , focusing on Ehsan , Amir and Hasan ( The main
characters in the movie The 20th Circuit Suspects ) .
Plus, the major parts of the sequences of the police force was taken by me. If he has denied
this , there are witnesses like the social worker , Ehsan , Amin and many other scenes including
the scenes from the back stage will prove my claim.
These scenes were shown without my permission . In the heading of the movie nobody has
mentioned my name as the director of photography.
Another notable point is that the plot and the ideas used in the movie that I was producing
Were before Hassan fell behind the bars and Hesam Eslami’s movie was filmed after Hassan
Went to prison.
Hesam Eslami saw my rough-cut that I was working on, in a private screening of the movie .
The day when we sat in my office , friendly , apart from any professional competition watching
The films that were taken at that time.
His movie is more like a T.V report , including long interviews with social workers that worked
In ( The Society of Defending Children of Streets and Labor).
The rough-cut that he saw and belonged to me were scenes of robbery and the trip that I went
With the gang to the north of Iran. Despite the scenes that were supposed to be shown
Differently in Hesam Eslami’s movie, later on were unpredictably repeated in his movie
“ The 20th Circuit Suspects”. At the end, most of the parts and scenes of the movie were similar
To the movie that I was making . There was a possibility, that I would get ideas from the
Incomplete movie of Hesam Eslami, because we were both in touch with the kids from the
Gang. In general it wasn’t that difficult to make friends with them. These kids would frequent
The NGO and its door was open to filmmakers and photographers. Gaining the trust of these
Kids with the help of the NGO was very easy.
There’s a possibility that if another filmmaker , other than Hesam Eslami was keen on making
Such a documentary, could’ve repeated the same scenes after frequently visiting the kids at
The NGO and gaining their trust. Because both, the NGO doors were open and the kids were
Receptive to the people who would gain their trust.
The subject-centered attitude that dealt with the kids at the NGO and realizing it in the
Documentary that I was making and the mental involvement ethically that I went through , it
Made me change my mind in making this documentary.
But as a person who had the other version of the movie under production . From different
Aspects , I think there is something wrong in the way this film is made. I congratulate the director for his persistency in following the life of Ehsan. Yet, I’m surprised that how easily he was beaten by the image that Ehsan and his friends had depicted for him.
Because many times the characters shown in the movie, had no correlation with the characters
They had in reality. And the irresponsibility of the director in showing to public, when many characters are shown in the movie.
Even if , all of the characters in the movie had given the permission for their image to be shown, there is still this question that these people , are they in a situation to make the right decision for themselves? And are they aware that their images shown are carrying out operations that are considered illegal in the country and will have legal commitments for them.
Although Mr.Eslami has said in an interview available on the internet that he still hasn’t got the permission from many of the kids that their images are shown in the movie.
Last year, I stopped and didn’t continue making the movie for moral reasons .
And this unfinished movie except one or two private shows, it wasn’t shown anywhere else.
Hesam Eslami with conclusion of this documentary at any cost and defying the principals to show this movie on July 26th in The Contemporary Museum of Modern Art for public.
The mentioned cases can be certainly unfortunate. But for a documentary with this subject
Can be ironical.
Mehran Afshar Naderi
Translate: Tala Ranjbaran