In July 1988 none of the thousands of political prisoners serving sentences in Iran suspected that during next 6 weeks, their numbers would be significantly diminished. Those who survived would never see their missing cellmates again. Human rights organizations have documented that between 3500 and 5000 prisoners were executed during this short period.
The film "Budding Grief" attempts to document step by step the dawning awareness among those held in these prisons about the existence of a plan to exterminate political prisoners. It traces the puzzle that confronted them during these weeks, from the memories of 12 survivors: the prisoners' discovery that they confronted a death commission in the place of the anticipated parole court. The film chronicles how Iranian men and women fought for their lives and helped one another survive using Morse code signals with light or with sound, in secret.
In the film, the daughter of a prisoner who was executed in the 1980s recalls the childhood she missed and the challenge of capturing the violent acts of that era to imprint them upon the collective memory of the nation. She became involved in another cycle of protests during the uprising of 2009 in Iran, and the circle continues.....
The campaign of executing prisoners was a secret project whose existence was revealed by political prisoners held during that grim episode in Iran's recent history. Even now, more than 25 years later, there has been no public acknowledgement of it, although some members of the regime who were aware of these events have spoken about them.
An interesting twist in the film is the inter-cutting of interviews with survivors, who reconstruct events historically specific to this dark period in Iran's recent history, with dance performance by a troupe made up of the mothers of the disappeared from Mexico, Argentina and Chile. This is doubly effective when it unfolds that in the case of Iranian political prisoners, the mothers of these "disappeared" in these weeks of 1988 discovered where remains were dumped, in a remote area, and continued to return in spite of threats from the regime, creating a memorial to their disappeared and giving the place a name, Khavaran, that became synonymous with those executions.
Movie 100 minutes running time along with intermission and Q&A session with the director.
For more information about the director: www.panteabahrami.com