Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars

Ben’s latest #sydfilmfest review: Day 2- lots of films but the standout is…

artemis projects

My experience of the 2014 Sydney Film Festival has commenced with five documentaries: “Tim’s Vermeer” (reviewed yesterday below); the accomplished “Finding Fela!” about Nigerian Afrobeat genious Fela Kuti; the photographically beautiful “Watermark” about the enormous significance water plays in our lives; Errol Morris’ perplexing “The Unknown Known”, featuring former US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld and his infamous memos; and, most powerful of all, Berit Madsen’s “Sepideh”.

“Sepideh” is named after the 18 year-old Iranian girl at the centre of this project. Madsen dedicates a significant amount of screen time to her, simply watching her. But I found her utterly transfixing, because Sepideh’s face reveals to us, in turn, both an intensely ambitious spirit, simmering inside her focused gaze, and also a girlish youth, expressed through her most gorgeous, radiant smile. Her smile pulled me into a parallel universe from the one I was sitting in only moments before, like the sun suddenly breaking through an embankment of clouds…

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