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The Night It Rained | Ūn shab kih bārūn ūmad | اون شب که بارون اومد


The Night It Rained | Ūn shab kih bārūn ūmad | اون شب که بارون اومد

Ūn shab kih bārūn ūmad, translated as The Night It Rained, is also known under the title, The Epic of a Gorgani Villager. Ūn shab kih bārūn ūmad is a short creative documentary movie, directed by Kāmrān Shīrdil in 1968, and inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950). The film was banned until 1974, when it was screened at the 3rd Tehran International Film Festival. It won the award for best short film, but it was later banned again. A new version of this film was screened in July 2015 at the 29th edition of the Il Cinema Retroatto film festival in Italy. 

The film is based on the real story of a villager from Gurgān who rescued a train from derailing on a rainy night. Thanks to the headline of the local Kayhān newspaper, he becomes a national hero overnight. The news broke immediately and was met with reactions from other newspapers that in turn covered the story of the Gurgāni villager who saved the lives of two hundred train passengers. But in the meantime, the newspaper Shumāl-i Īrān called it a big lie and a false story exploited by the press. 

The form of the film makes it clear that it is not easy to uncover the truth. During his investigation in Lamlang village, Shīrdel warns the public that what the media reported did not completely reflect the truth. As the story progresses, it shows how the truth is hidden. The saying, “Everything is a lie, sir, everything is a lie,” uttered by the train driver, is the film’s motif, representing the failure to learn the truth, and it serves, ultimately, as the epilogue to the film—emphasizing the gap between truth and “truth.” In fact, the director has taken a step back here, challenging the concepts of documentary cinema in terms of interpreting reality and generally influencing viewers’ perceptions of the truth. Ūn shab kih bārūn ūmad is thus a modern and progressive work among the documentaries of the 1960s. Not only is it Shīrdel’s masterpiece, but it also retains its freshness. Without a doubt, the film is among the best in the history of Iranian cinema.