Triumph is a feature-length documentary film about the state-sanctioned narratives of Iran's 1979 Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) as propagated by the Islamic filmmaker Morteza Avini (1947-1993), in comparison with the narratives of the survivors of the 1980s repression and massacre of the opposition under the Islamic Republic of Iran. The film is mostly comprised of found footage which are accompanied by recently shot interviews with three survivors who now live in political exile.
The film is narrated by the filmmaker Kaveh Abbasian who is also a political exile. His narration adds a personal touch to the historical events covered in the film. His English narration is accompanied by Morteza Avini's Persian narration from a state propaganda perspective.
Triumph is a result of five years of research as part of the director's practice-based PhD project in Film and Television Studies at the University of Roehampton, London. The footage used in the film has been chosen from among more than a hundred hours of archive footage and is mostly from Morteza Avini's television war documentary series' Chronicle of Triumph (1986-1988).
The project has been funded and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, technē AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, The John W. Kluge Center (Library of Congress), and the University of Roehampton, London.
Chronicle of Triumph (Revayat-e Fath) was an Iranian television documentary series about the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), which was aired on a weekly basis on national television, from 1986 to 1988. The series was very influential in encouraging volunteers to join the war. It also had a role in shaping the propaganda aesthetic and audio-visual language of the Islamic Republic’s representation of the war. It was written, narrated, and edited by the young Morteza Avini (1947-1993) who led a group of dedicated Islamic filmmakers operating on the frontlines of the war as well as in cities and remote villages.
First Episode of Chronicle of Triumph
Chronicle of Triumph can be placed in a larger filmmaking movement in Iran which officially started after the 1979 Revolution, namely “Islamic cinema”. This state-sanctioned movement eventually led to the formation of Iranian war cinema or as it is officially referred to inside Iran the “sacred defence cinema”. Morteza Avini is among the most influential filmmakers of this movement and their only theorist. His death by landmine in 1993 officially elevated him to the level of a “martyr”, and his films to the level of high spiritual quality. He wrote most of his theoretical writings either inspired by or in reference to his Chronicle of Triumph.
Kaveh Abbasian is an Iranian documentary filmmaker in Exile. After arriving in the UK as a political refugee in 2008, he started making films regarding social and political issues. In 2019 he completed his PhD in Film and Television Studies from the University of Roehampton. His works have been screened in many film festivals and exhibitions around the world such as the Venice Biennale, Havana International Film Festival, London East End Film Festival, and the Paris International Festival of Cinema in Exile.
Kaveh is currently based in London, UK, where he also works as a visiting lecturer at the University of Roehampton and as an associate lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London. He is also the former director of programming for the London Kurdish Film Festival, the oldest and largest exhibition of Kurdish cinema.