Azar Saiyar’s retrospective at Uppsala International Short Film Festival

The 40th Uppsala International Short Film Festival presents a retrospective of Azar Saiyar’s short films. The festival is held from October 25-31 2021, and the screening of Saiyar’s retrospective takes place on Saturday, October 30, in film theater Fyris.

The retrospective includes the following films:

Azar Saiyar: Helsinki-Tehran (2009)

Helsinki-Tehran (2009, 22:10)

Between places. Between people. ”Helsinki-Tehran” is a cinematic study on immigration and memory – on the shared verbal and nonverbal knowledge and emotional understanding which travels with displaced people from one generation to another. The film uses various cinematic styles and techniques.

Primus Tempus (2014, 05:17)

Reorganized fragments of television commercials create an illusion that is different from the original clips. The images are still enchanting and appealing, but lack a direct connection to the product. The context and interpretation become more vague and open.

History Bleeds Under Your Fingernails (2016, 07:20)

We used to believe that being left-handed could lead to criminality, stupidity, and immoral behaviour. So we tried to educate our children not to use that hand. ”History Bleeds Under Your Fingernails” is a short film on the history of taming the left hand and on the culture of cultivating the bodies that do not fit.

Hey You! (2017, 07:20)

To be productive, to produce, to be a product. To have a value because of being productive. A very common mindset for an immigrant. “I have to prove my right to be here with being useful.” This kind of thinking in me I resist. It gives me a lack of motivation to participate in any forms of producing. Also producing words. And these words pour out from my fingers. “You, hey you, you must learn to shake your hands, shake your body, shake that ass, shake your fingers, hard, so hard, that from the tips of your fingers drop millions of stars.”

Monument of Distance (2018, 07:00, in featured image)

Googoosh, a popular and loved iranian-azerbaijani singer, performs a version of the song ”Ayrılıq” (separation). The performance is from 1970s television show and it has been copied several times from one videotape to another. ”Ayrılıq” could be a love song but it is told that composer Ali Salimi (who had migrated from Soviet Azerbaijan to Iran and left behind his home and loved ones) wanted to make music about his sense of longing.

Tell Me (2019, 07:44)

A narrator asks: “Do you know this bird?”. The video quotes both public and private archival images in which birds are in the centre – birds as individual living beings but also as creatures habiting the worlds and stories created by humans.

Laila’s Apple (2021, 08:04)

Composed of archive footage and interviews, Laila’s Apple is a video work about childhood, growing up, learning and rules.

Azar Saiyar: Laila’s Apple (2021)

Azar Saiyar is a Helsinki-based filmmaker and visual artist. She often uses archive materials and plays with images and words of collective memory to look towards ways of looking, remembering and storytelling. Her films have been screened at international film and media art festivals, galleries, exhibitions, museums and broadcast on television.

The 40th Uppsala International Short Film Festival, October 25-31 2021, Sweden

More information: Uppsala ISFF