Forbidden Presences

Maryam Tafakory

Maryam Tafakory is an Iranian artistic filmmaker whose powerful and hard-hitting textual and filmic collages interweave poetry, documentary, archival, and found material. She employs allegorical types of visual storytelling that are beautiful to the senses and entail a nuanced negotiation between reality and fiction through abstraction, symbolism, and archival compilation.

Infusing performance art and poetry into her video works, Maryam Tafakory is interested in womanhood and rites of passage and themes of (self)-censorship and religion, drawing on the notion of the personal as political. Often touching upon depictions of erasure, secrecy, and the violence of invisible regulatory bodies, her research-based projects look at what is often neglected and discarded as trivial, excessive, or unscientific. Tafakory has an ongoing body of video essays in dialogue with post-revolution iranian cinema.

Her work has been exhibited internationally including at MoMA Doc Fortnight; International Film Festival Rotterdam; ICA London; and Anthology Film Archives. She has received several awards including the Ammodo Tiger Short (IFFR 2022) and Barbara Hammer Feminist Film Award at 60th Ann Arbor Film Festival. She was awarded the Flaherty/Colgate Distinguished Global Filmmaker in Residence (NY) in 2019, and she received a MacDowell Fellowship in 2022.

Maryam Tafakory will join the screening to talk more about her work.

FRI 28/10, 19:00 FYRIS

Where is she?

”Not everything wants to be remembered, my mother says. I wish my words would stop touching what I forbid them to.”

Introductory documentary-performance / 17:00 / Director: Maryam Tafakory

Irani Bag

Using excerpts of films produced between 1990 and 2018, Irani Bag is a split-screen video essay questioning the innocence of bags in post-revolution Iranian cinema.

Iran, Singapore, UK 2021 / 08:00 / Director: Maryam Tafakory

Absent Wound

The rituals of warrior training is seen in combination with the recitations of a young girl. Whilst seemingly in separate worlds, the film draws parallels and connections between these relative situations, in the process drawing documentary and fictional threads together to reveal a shared sense of coming to terms with corporeality, its rituals, and tribulations.

Iran, UK 2016 / 09:00 / Director: Maryam Tafakory

I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin

What cures women of sexual promiscuity?

Iran, UK 2017 / 09:00 / Director: Maryam Tafakory

Poem & Stone

Distance and nearness are attributes of the body. One experiences and records the present through bodily sensations that hold memories. The desire to remember, embeds the past involuntarily within the present.

Iran, UK 2015 / 08:00 / Director: Maryam Tafakory


Text becomes a body for a hand.

Iran, UK 2014 / 04:00 / Director: Maryam Tafakory