You may have been to an illegal warehouse rave in college or in some large American or European metropolis. There's an exciting air of the clandestine about it, that rush of knowing you could get caught at any time, maybe even arrested. It's okay, though, because at the end of the day, you know you're not in any real danger.
That's hardly the case in Iran, where getting caught raving could mean being beaten within inches of your life. But even in that situation, people are willing to face such stakes for the sake of the rhythm. For Iranian DJs Anoosh and Arash, a.k.a. Blade & Beard, this has been an everyday reality for most of their careers. The fearless pair not only organized illegal dances in the desert, they wrote and recorded an illegal album, then hit the streets trying to sell it. They have been beaten, they have been jailed, and still they go on searching for the dream.
Their story is the subject of a new documentary, Raving Iran, making its debut across a series of screenings throughout Europe, Canada, and South Africa this summer. What happens when Blade & Beard are invited to the largest techno festival in the world, only to have their loved ones beg them not to come back?
The Western dance scene may not be perfect, but it's easy to forget how fortunate we are to dance and party as one out in the open for all to see. Raving Iran reminds us of the challenges facing our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, but it's also a reminder that inspirations and dreams still roar in the face of oppression.
Check the trailer below and get hooked, then check the list of screenings announced so far on the documentary's website, including a special U.K. screening and Q&A session with Blade & Beard after the film at Village Underground.
Raving Iran Screenings
15-24 April - Vision du Reel, Nyon
27 April - Village Underground, UK
28-8 May - Hot Docs, Toronto
05-15 May DOK.fest Munich
12-18 May - Bel Docs, Belgrade
26-1 June Iranian Film Festival, Zurich
29-5 June - Krakow Film Festival
02-12 June Encounters, South African International Documentary Festival
10-20 June - Biografilm Festival, Bologna
14-3 July Hot Docs at Palace, Melbournce / Sydney / Canberra