where the sun shines vertically
About where the sun shines vertically
At the beginning of spring 2011, I had an adventurous trip to Sistan and Baluchestan province in the south of Iran with a number of friends. It was a hard, enjoyable, and memorable trip.
The trip was exploratory for me in a number of ways. Most importantly, I had grown up in the culture of northern Iran, where the people are not strictly religious. Now I was stepping into southern Iran, a Sunnite region with strong religious beliefs. The Sunnite community is very difficult to get mixed with because of its own conservatism, the unfriendly treatment of the central government over the past years, and because they have been shunned by the locals.
During the 20-day trip, we went to various villages and I met three khans in the region, each with a different perspective of the women and the life. Interestingly, the closer we got to the Iran-Pakistan border, the more religious people became, and their culture and customs were more like Pakistan than Iran.
In those 20 days, I noticed that the women rarely appeared in the town and in the public, and when they did, they wore burqas. It was extremely difficult to shoot women in the region, and few women would appear in front of the camera. I had worked in the north of the country before, and making a film in the south of the country was a new experience for me. Given the knowledge I had gained about that community, I wanted to make a film in that region.
During a few years of friendship, those three khans came to my house in Tehran a few times, and I became their guest once again. Then I decided to make a film about them, but I knew from the beginning that because of the religious beliefs in that society, I would not be able to get into their lives much and depict details, so I took an anthropological approach to make the film. I chose the focus of the film the kind of approach towards women and life in the society and tried to follow the same theme in all three episodes of the film in order to portray that society and the viewpoint of its people.
The documentary Where the Sun Shines Vertically is about three headmen living on the coast of Gulf of Oman and their stance on the women and life.
The film begins on the border of Iran and Pakistan in the port of Beris, the water border between Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean with the life of Abdol Majid Baluch, the mechanic of outboard motor boats. The people of the region use these boats to catch fish. Then we get to the town of Zarabad and meet the family of Omar Ladi who live on the coast of Gulf of Oman and earn a living by farming. In the third episode, we accompany Morteza Nasoori, the skipper of a fishing launch in Sirik Port in Strait of Hormuz, the water border between Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf.