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Iranian Artists Forum screens documentary on poet Mohammad-Ali Sepanlu


Report by Tehran Times; photos by Leila Ebrahimi, Iranian Artists Forum

Mohammad-Ali Sepanlu attends the screening of "Sailing across Tehran"

A documentary about the life story of contemporary Iranian poet and translator Mohammad-Ali Sepanlu was screened at the cinematheque of the Iranian Artists Forum on Tuesday evening.

"Sailing Across Tehran" book cover

Sepanlu, Abbas Kiarostami, Soheil Mahmudi, Simin Behbahani, Shams Langerudi, Shahram Nazeri and a large number of other cultural figures attended the screening of "Sailing across Tehran", which was directed by Salaheddin Karimzadeh.

The screening program was organized to commemorate Sepanlu's 73rd birthday.

"I was informed of this film from the beginning of the shooting and I am glad to see that it has been completed," Tehran City Council Chairman Ahmad Masjed-Jamei said in a short speech.

"He has pursued careers in writing, translation, journalism and so on in his life and was successful in all these fields," he added.

"Unfortunately, Tehran has been described as terrible in modern Persian literature; a city that is not culture-oriented," Masjed-Jamei stated.

"However, Sepanlu introduces Tehran well, giving back the city its lost self-confidence. He became the poet of Tehran... this city has the potential to convince a poet to defend the collective identity of Iranians and this is what Sepanlu did," he added.

Other participants also delivered short speeches after the screening of the documentary.

"Sepanlu is an oral history that adds something new to my world every day," Karimzadeh said.

"Sepanlu belongs to a generation that lived with writing," poet Shahriar Vaqfipur stated.

"Every word of his poetry waxes poetic. We could never find a poet who has used such eloquent words and phrases to the extent that Sepanlu has in his poetry. He uses them in their most beautiful and inspiring forms," poet Behbahani said.

The session came to an end with Sepanlu's speech.

"This film is a token of appreciation for me that has been expressed by the younger generation," Sepanlu said.

"By this film I realized that I have not wasted my life. I wanted the generation to talk about us in this film," he added.

The title of the documentary refers to a Sepanlu's collection by the same name.

He has composed 15 collections of poems including "Earth", "Sidewalks", "The Absent Sinbad", "Invasion", "Streets, Deserts", "Exiled in Homeland" and "Sailing across Tehran".

He is also the author of "Men", a short story collection, "Remaking the Reality", a compilation of short stories by various Iranian writers, "The Avant-garde Writers of Iran", about the history of novel, short story and play writing in modern Persian literature.

In addition, he has translated Graham Greene's "The Comedians", Jean-Paul Sartre's "The Childhood of a Leader", Albert Camus' "The Just Assassins" and several works by other writers.

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