Documentary The culture means
The description of the director of Film The culture means
The film Culture means… is about the coming of automobiles to Iran and its change since then. The film’s narrative revolves around nine influential artists in the Iranian society, who have lost their lives in car accidents.
On 24 March 2015, I heard the news of the death of my artist friend, Arash Talebi. All the new year holiday of Nowruz 2015, I was thinking why a young man, full of talent, capability, and motivation should lose his life in an accident and all his dreams and expectations of others for his future successes would burst like a bubble and be destroyed. The incident caused me to do an extensive research for a year on the coming of the cars to Iran, its evolution since then, and how the culture of driving in Iran took shape. In the meantime, I realised that many artists had lost their lives due to the saddening driving accidents. It is very painful that artists, who are the culture makers of the society, lose their lives due to the poor driving culture in the same society. More painful is that the authorities and policymakers of the society, who must devise and implement the driving culture, refer their duties from one organisation to another.
It was important to me to distance myself from the atmosphere of a reportage and not to only provide information and statistics on accidents. The two-year process of making this film was very hard and saddening; from the lack of cooperation on the part of the organisations that had to provide accurate information and statistics, to the institutions responsible for the culture-making in this regard, and worst of all the people who do not feel responsible for themselves and their dear ones.
According to my research and the statistics I obtained, about 800,000 traffic accidents occur annually in Iran, killing 43 people every day. That is one death per 71 minutes. And every year, 300,000 people are injured in the car accidents. In fact, car accidents in Iran claim most lives only second to the air pollution. With 18,000 road deaths every year, Iran ranks among the top in the world.
The most important reasons for the accidents include human factors such as speeding, reckless driving and disregarding the traffic regulations and poor training, technical factors such as worn-out cars, the low safety level of vehicles, failing to properly control technically the existing vehicles, and the low quality and low standard of the roads.
I hope this film has portrayed a portion of the sad story of our poorness and lack of culture in transportation and driving, and it will be a warning to the public and the authorities who are responsible for the policymaking and management of this sector.