Jaii keh khoda nist

Where God Is Not
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 metres 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 scepticism.
by Mehran Tamadon France / Switzerland 2023 Farsi, French 112’ Colour World premiere | Documentary Form


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
Producers Raphaël Pillosio, Elena Tatti
Executive Producer Raphaël Pillosio
Co-Production Box Productions Lausanne, Schweiz

Mehran Tamadon

Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1972, he first studied architecture in Paris before turning to filmmaking. He directed his first documentary, Behesht zahra, in 2004. In 2010, he made Bassidji in which he documented his attempts to enter into a dialogue with the Basij militia whose members have dedicated their lives to defending the Iranian regime. The same principle was applied in his film Iranien which screened in the Berlinale Forum in 2014.


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

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023