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New Releases: January 2014

 

This month’s featured new releases come from the home movie collection of Plano’s Yousefi family. These home movies document the lives of a Texas Iranian-American family and offer a glimpse into the community’s culture and traditions.

Perhaps the most historical and stirring of these home movies is a Super 8 film the family took in Tehran in 1979. On January 16, 1979, 35 years ago this month, the last Persian Monarch, the U.S.-supported Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, was exiled. Soon after his exile, the Iranian monarchy was abolished, and the country was declared an Islamic Republic led by revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini. This history is still quite relevant today, in both modern politics and art. The Yousefis were in Iran in 1979 and documented the day the Shah fled Iran. This film, which the family labeled “The Day the Shah Ran Away,” documents an exuberant Tehran where people line the streets, gathering with great joy, and march together holding signs supporting Khomeini.

Other highlights of the collection include a video of the family playing Persian music on a drum and a santur, a traditional Iranian instrument, and dancing together at a party in their home. Also of interest is this video of a Persian wedding in Addison, Texas. The couple observes Western wedding traditions, then holds a Persian wedding ceremony, which is captured in this video. The couple sits under a shawl in front of an elaborate spread while cones of crystallized sugar are ground on the shawl above them. The couple finishes their wedding ceremony by dipping their pinkies into a cup of honey and feeding it to each other, symbolizing sweetness and love as they begin their marriage. Learn more about these traditions on the video page!

Watch these and the Yousefis’ other home movies in their collection, and check back next month for more New Releases!