The Queen and I
Director: Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Screenwriters: Zinat S. Lloyd, Nahid Persson Sarvestani
When Nahid Persson Sarvestani, an Iranian exile, set out to make a documentary about Farrah, the wife of the shah of Iran, she expected to encounter her opposite. As a child, Persson Sarvestani had lived in dire poverty, watching Farrahâ€™s wedding as if it were a fairy tale. As a teenager, she joined the Communist faction of Khomeiniâ€™s revolution that deposed the shah, sending him and his family volleying from country to country. When Khomeini betrayed his promise for democracy, imposing more violent measures than the shah had, Persson Sarvestani was also forced to flee. Thirty years later, she needs key questions answered and goes directly to the source. Surprisingly, Queen Farrah welcomes her as a fellow refugee from their beloved homeland, granting unprecedented access. Over the next year and a half, Persson Sarvestani enters the queenâ€™s world, planning to challenge the shahâ€™s ideology; instead, she must rethink her own.
When Persson Sarvestaniâ€™s prior opposition to the shah surfaces, the queen shuts down filming. Yet, in the struggle to understand each otherâ€™s experiences, an unlikely friendship has blossomed. Confronting Farrah about the shahâ€™s repression has become not only a political conflict but a personal one, and Persson Sarvestaniâ€™s objectivity is shaken.
In this gripping, poignant consideration of subjectivity as truth, we learn that people write history. And can also heal it. The Queen and I couldnâ€™t be more relevant as we reach across our own political aisles.
- Documentary Feature
- 2009, Sundance Film Festival
- Sweden, 90 min.