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Jaii keh khoda nist

Where God Is Not
Still from the film "Jaii keh khoda nist" by Tamadon Mehran. Two men are crouching between two walls, in conversation. A lifeless body is lying on a mattress in the background.
© L’Atelier Documentaire
  • Director

    Mehran Tamadon

  • France, Switzerland / 2023
    112 min. / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language

    Farsi, French

In an empty room on the edge of Paris, a prison cell is under construction. Director Mehran Tamadon is putting together a scaffold of wooden slats to mark out the walls and bunk beds. He’s talking to Homa Kalhori, who is busy painting prison bars on the wall and corrects him when the space he is constructing gets too large. She says the cells at Ghezel Hesar were much smaller: eight square meters for 25 to 30 women.

It is years since Tamadon has been in Iran. He himself was never imprisoned, although his passport was confiscated for a month after he filmed IRANIEN (Berlinale Forum 2014). By speaking with Kalhori and two other former political prisoners – Taghi Rahmani and Mazyar Ebrahimi – he is now looking to find out more about the years they spent in Evin or Ghezel Hesar. Over the course of the trio’s reconstructions and reenactments, they place their bodies back in the positions they took during their interrogation and torture. Will this enable them to convey their experiences? Is it helpful for them to return to the past? Providing no easy answers to these difficult questions, the film instead takes the liberty of repeatedly eyeing its own premise with quiet skepticism. (Cristina Nord)

Production Raphaël Pillosio, Elena Tatti. Production company L'atelier documentaire (Bordeaux, France). Director Mehran Tamadon. Written by Mehran Tamadon. Cinematography Patrick Tresch. Editing Mehran Tamadon, Luc Forveille. Sound design Simon Gendrot, Philippe Grivel. Sound Terence Meunier, Marc Parazon. Executive producer Raphaël Pillosio. Co-production Box Productions.

Mehran Tamadon, born in Teheran, Iran in 1972, he emigrated with his family to Paris in 1984. After studying architecture there, he returned to Iran, where he spent four years working as an architect. In 2004, he returned to Paris, where he turned to filmmaking and made his first documentary film BEHESHT ZAHRA (Mothers of Martyrs). His film IRANIEN featured in the Forum section of the Berlinale in 2014.

Films: 2004: Behesht zahra / Mothers of Martyrs (short documentary). 2009: Bassidji (documentary). 2014: Iranien (documentary). 2023: Jaii keh khoda nist / Where God Is Not, Mon pire ennemi / My Worst Enemy (documentary).

Bonus Material

Director's Statement, Essay, and Book Excerpt

  • Still from the film "Jaii keh khoda nist" by Tamadon Mehran. A woman with black hair, in a checkered shirt, with a yellow-red scarf is speaking to a man who can be partially seen, blurred out at the right corner of the image.


    In “Exposing a Regime”, Anke Leweke writes about Mehran Tamadon’s unique way of taking action in documentary cinema

  • Still from the film "Jaii keh khoda nist" by Tamadon Mehran. Two men are crouching, leaning against an empty bed frame between them, seemingly in conversation with each other.

    Director's Statement

    Mehran Tamadon on JAII KEH KHODA NIST, and his attempt to understand state violence through the voices of its victims

  • Book Excerpt

    In this excerpt from her memoir “A Coffin for the Living” Homa Kalhori writes about her experiences of incarceration

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur