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REHEARSING REALITY showcases a selection of films that blend fact and fiction, blurring the line between the staged and the improvised. Featuring works by Azin Feizabadi /Kaya Behkalam, and Arvand Dashtaray.


This program is co-presented by ArteEast and Rooftop Films. This series is part of the legacy program Unpacking the ArteArchive, which preserves and presents over 17 years of film and video programming by ArteEast. In addition to the online screening on artearchive.org from August 24-28, The Absent Director will be screened in-person at Fort Greene Park (August 23) along with short film The Smell of Sex by Danielle Arbid. For more information, visit rooftopfilms.com

The Absent Director (2021)


In one continuous take, the film follows the various members of a young Iranian theater company during their secret rehearsals of Macbeth at their Director’s home in Tehran, while he works with them remotely from Paris via video call. Their dream is to submit the play to the Edinburgh Theater Festival on time, but things get complicated when their personal conflicts escalate, and their hidden agendas come into light. The heated tensions reach their climax when a mysterious tragedy threatens to put their work into a complete halt. The complex layers of their reality are slowly unraveled as the film seamlessly fuses the past with the present, fiction with non-fiction, even crossing the bridge to reality with the actors performing as themselves.


About the filmmaker


An experienced and well-known director, artist, and designer in Tehran’s art scene. Born in 1981, Arvand Dashtaray began his career by studying industrial design in Tehran. With his Virgule Performing Arts Company he has produced over 25 theatrical pieces, both nationally and internationally, during the past 20 years. As a visual artist, Dashtaray completed three solo exhibitions in Shirin, Azad and Silk Road galleries in Tehran. He began his much-anticipated venture into the film medium by directing a series of short films titled ATISAZ. THE ABSENT DIRECTOR is Dashtaray’s first feature film.

  • Year
    2021
  • Runtime
    86 minutes
  • Language
    Farsi, English
  • Country
    Iran
  • Director
    Arvand Dashtaray
  • Screenwriter
    Naghmeh Samini
  • Producer
    Hossein Akbari
  • Executive Producer
    Marene van Holk, Amir Keyvan Salehi
  • Cast
    Marene van Holk, Arvand Dashtaray , Azadeh Mirzaei , Tahere Hezaveh, Diba Khatami, Sanaz Bagheri, Meysam Nowrouzi, Amin Yazdani Nejad ,Meisam Mirzaei, Romina Davachi , Narges Saeidi Nejad , Keivan Jodeiri
  • Cinematographer
    Peyman Shadmanfar
  • Production Design
    Arvand Dashtaray
  • Sound Design
    Ali Alavian
  • Music
    Ehsan Sedigh