On a recent trip to my local library, I ran across a film called Mystic Iran: the unseen world. Just 52 minutes long, the documentary follows filmmaker Aryana Farshad as she travels into little-known pockets of Iranian culture, including ecstatic women Sufis, the cave temples of Zarathustra's followers, and more.
“My documentary breaks through the stereotypes of the Islamic culture," Farshad explains. "More than 2500 years later, in a global climate where many equate the cultures of the Middle East with fear and terrorism, Mystic Iran reveals a diverse people seeking spiritual transformation.”
The film is quiet and patient, punctuated by the alarming intensity of dervishes and both men and women in the throes of spiritual ecstasy.
Originally released in 2002, the film is being re-released August 19. In April, Mystic Iran won the Audience Award at the 2008 Noor Film Festival in Beverly Hills, California. It's available at CDUniverse, you can find out more at mysticiran.com, and here's a preview.