Film Commentary 04: Septembers of Shiraz

The film Septembers of Shiraz exhibits a story that revolves around the events after the 1979 Iranian revolution. This means that the events portrayed in the film were the results of the successful overthrow of the west-inclined leadership of the said country. Historical events that involve struggle with regard to the control of the government shows how the actors are in a power conflict. With that, this struggle will most definitely result to one with which there is a victor. Aside from this manifestation in the film, it is also successful in being able to show different angles of the society after the overthrow of the western leadership of Iran. Specifically, both aspects of the, somewhat, wealthy, and the poor were shown. By being able to reveal the situation, the feelings, and the disposition of the poor, there is a better way to understand how there was truly disappointment in the government, leading to such uprisings in history.

The general ideas that grounded the film’s plot was the overthrow of an existing government. In past discussion, overthrowing a government, whether it would involve the military or members of the state (in the form of a coup), the underlying causes were highly rooted upon social backwardness, and the very frustrations of the people. Relating these to the idea of the relative deprivation theory, Gurr refers to “individuals’ perceptions of the discrepancy between the standard of living that they believe deserving and the standard of living they are actually capable of achieving”. With these ideas, it is clear to illustrate how people of Iran were in discontent of the situation of living under a pro-west leadership. There is that sense of feeling that the standard way of living, that they could possible achieve, is one that is not under the said leadership. From these general insights discussed, there is a clear manifestation why the poor are of value when it comes to understanding the overthrow of the western-inclined leadership that only brought discontent amongst society members.

Furthermore, in the film, there was a unique manifestation of how the rich meets the poor with regard to how the employee named Morteza explains to Isaac’s wife the sentiments of the poor on why they were taking their course of action. In this phase of the film, there was frustration on the part of Isaac’s family, particularly his wife, because she couldn’t fathom the idea that the people were doing her husband’s business wrong; stealing from them, and taking away the precious equipment, when, in reality, her husband had offered them more, beyond just remuneration. It is said that the husband had also offered compensation to support education. However, explaining against this, the employee serves as the voice of the poorer or less wealthy individuals in society by reiterating that the poor were tired of the situation as to how it was the wealthy who were successful in taking advantage of the country’s wealth, while they (the poor) were left in a terrible position. It is in these narrative in the film where Skocpol’s ideas in social revolution were, somewhat, manifested. As one can recall, Skocpol’s arguments revolved around ideas on class-based revolts for the intention of transforming or reengineering the class structure. With that, the ideas are exhibited by how the poor were acting upon the situation of feeling left out in society when it is the rich benefitting from the state’s wealth.

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