The Tree that Remembers
Extraordinary film explores the lives of Iranian refugees who cannot escape painful memories.
Directed by Masoud Raouf
Produced by The National Film Board of Canada
Animator: Masoud Raouf
Associate Producer: Ravida Din
Executive Producer: Sally Bochner
Director of photography: Ali Reggab
In 1992 a young Iranian student hanged himself from a tree on the outskirts of a small Ontario town. He had escaped the Ayatollah's regime but he could not escape his past.
"A beautifully shot, thoughtfully realized work....Highly recommended." ***1/2 Gary Handman, Video Librarian
News of the stranger's death hit home with filmmaker Masoud Raouf. He too is part of the generation of Iranians who rose up against the Shah's despotic rule only to be cruelly persecuted by an equally murderous new regime.
THE TREE THAT REMEMBERS is his compassionate reflection on the betrayal of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the tenacity of the human spirit.
Raouf assembles a group of Iranians, all former political prisoners like himself who were active in the democratic movement. Blending their testimony with historical footage and original artwork, Raouf honors the memory of the dead and celebrates the resilience of the living.
While anchored in a specific history, THE TREE THAT REMEMBERS reflects on the broad themes of oppression and survival, pouring light into a somber universe and finding unexpected fragments of hope.
Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2002
Copyright Date: 2002
DVD ISBN: 0-7722-1213-9
VHS ISBN: 0-7722-1104-3
"A beautifully shot, thoughtfully realized work--a compelling and, at times, heartrending meditation on political violence, on survival of the human spirit, and on the sorrows of exile....Highly recommended."
***1/2 Gary Handman, Video Librarian
"The historical footage of the revolution and the personal testimony of people who have suffered much combine to make this a powerful documentary... Recommended"
Alexander Rolfe, George Fox University, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Raouf's presentation is thoughtfully seasoned with art, delivering a highly professional product. This video is worth seeing; recommended for public and academic libraries."
"An eloquent and powerful film on the suffering of Iranian exiles more than 20 years after the revolution."
T.T. Nhu, San Jose Mercury-Sun
"Extremely well done, elegant, moving, heartbreaking, inspiring interviews. Sound editing was great. Thank you for telling these stories."
Western Psychological Association Film Festival Juror
"In his film The Tree that Remembers director Masoud Raouf delivers a painful and courageous portrayal encompassing the trials and triumphs of the human heart. Bringing a voice to the hundreds of thousands by way of a few, this film offers truths revealed from a world legacy of political prisoners, once adrift in silence, now told by the voices of survivors themselves."
J. Rae Niles, Al Jadid magazine
Awards and Festivals
Award of Commendation, Visual Anthropology Film/Video Festival, American Anthropological Association
Golden Sheaf Award, Best Social Documentary, Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival
Silver Award, Best Canadian Documentary, Hot Docs
Nominated for Best Social/Political Documentary, The Gemini Awards (Canadian Emmy)
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
International Film Festival on Human Rights, Geneva
Middle Eastern Studies Association FilmFest
Calgary International Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford
Vermont International Film Festival
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Global Visions Film Festival
Western Psychological Association Film Festival
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Tiburon International Film Festival
Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
Migration and Refugees
War and Peace
Exposé of the horrifying results of the 1996 immigration law.
Rain in a Dry Land
Two Somali Bantu families leave behind a legacy of slavery in Africa and find new homes in urban America.
A Great Wonder
Documents the difficult transition of three of the "Lost Boys and Girls" of Sudan to life as immigrants in Seattle, WA.
Dreaming of Tibet
Looks at the lives of three Tibetan exiles, and at the recent history of their country, which forced them to flee.
The Man We Called Juan Carlos
Chronicles the violent history of Guatemala and life of Wenceslao Armira, a Mayan father, farmer, teacher, guerilla, priest and champion of human rights.
Paying the Price
John Pilger exposes the devastating effect that UN sanctions had on the children of Iraq during the 1990s.
In the Name of Honour
Kurdish women fight for their rights in Northern Iraq.
Gaza Under Siege
The Gaza Strip has been a virtual prison for Palestinians for over fifty years.
The Tale of the Three Lost Jewels
A tale of love and hope in the Gaza Strip.
Jesus Tecu Osorio in Guatemala
The son of civil war victims leads a campaign for justice.