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Film s grim take on Iran is quite clear

REEL CRITIC:

September 12, 2007

“A Cry From Iran” is a very intense and brief documentary that bares its soul from the very beginning. The brothers Joseph and Andre Hovsepian have produced this bare-bones documentary in the hope of raising awareness throughout the civilized world to the extent of the misanthropic behavior of Muslim radicals who live in Iran.

This documentary is well edited and leaves no doubt of its intent. There are no sweeping, panoramic scenes of the Iranian countryside to soften the message of this film. The focus of the story just wouldn’t permit it.

The film deals with the brutal kidnapping and murder of Bishop Haik Hovsepian, who was killed in Iran in 1994. Bishop Hovsepian was the leader of Evangelical Christians in Iran and had openly campaigned for the release of Mehdi Dibaj, another Evangelist who had been condemned to death for proselytizing in Iran. Hovsepian’s campaign was successful, and Dibaj was released under international pressure a short time before his scheduled execution.

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Not to be outdone, and apparently to punctuate the radicals’ murderous intentions, Hovsepian “disappeared” one day only to be found some time later with 26 stab wounds to his chest. Muslim radicals supposedly “took credit” for his grisly murder.

Filmmakers Joseph and Andre Hovsepian would like the world to know that in modern-day Iran, those who practice religions other than Islam are openly discouraged and in many cases persecuted. It would have been nice, though, to hear from the producers of this film that it is not only Christians who have been attacked, but Jews have suffered as well. Baha’is in some recent instances also have been rounded up and murdered.

Because of the narrow scope of this film and because of its abbreviated running time of 55 minutes, this documentary will have limited appeal and will probably rely on Christian broadcasting programs for much of its exposure. This production would have benefited from taking on a bit more in the form of subject matter, and in doing so would have less the ring of an “ax to grind” about it.

Also, I find it more than a bit difficult to objectively critique the efforts of such a personal project, especially since I recently stood face to face with the broken-hearted family members of Bishop Hovsepian in the lobby of the theater that featured the screening that I attended.

All in all though, the message is quite clear, and “A Cry From Iran” sums it up quite well: Iran is not the place to be for anyone who stands at odds with the current Muslim regime.

“A Cry From Iran” is unrated and will be playing at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 and 14 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

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