AminPosterOct2011 copy

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A beautifully crafted portrait of the extraordinary young musician/ethnomusicologist Amin Aghaie.
Fueled by its subject's passionate commitment (and virtuoso violin), and functioning on several levels,
the docu could resonate theatrically with arthouse auds.

-Ronnie Scheib, Variety

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Honest, touching and open. This film is about lost origins,
skillfully combining individual loneliness with the whole nation’s
love of music, as it follows the fate of a dying music. 
Jury's Comments, TIDF

"Amin"
A documentary about music and passion.
Music and musicians are one in "Amin",
a heartfelt documentary about Qashqai
violinist who embarks on a Herculean
labor of love to keep alive his music heritage.

Maggie Lee,
Hollywood Reporter

" An ethnomusicologist's delight."
Kelly Vance, EAST BAY EXPRESS



Amin portrays the determination of a musician trying to preserve his traditional music. For his doctoral dissertation at the Kiev Conservatory, Amin researches the endangered music of the Qashqai nomads in Iran. Participating as the main character in the film, he seriously asserts the importance of the preservation and values of culture. However, the camera slowly observes the flip side that is his personal life. Like music that rings in desolate fields and on street corners with heartbreaking melodies, Amin’s life on the verge of financial crisis is also losing vitality.

Two documentaries about musicians and traditional music co-exist in Amin. What connects these two different stories is the character of Amin. This documentary does not embroider his obsession with research and difficulties in life as a passionate musician, but it does observe them with compassion. Therefore, Amin is not a point of contact for two different documentaries, but a report on a delicate relationship between the camera and its object.
(CHO Young-jung, PIFF)


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"Western theorists say that we divide European music into two periods: before and after Bach. Well, we can divide Qashqai music into two periods: before and after Kiyani. "
- Amin Aghaie

In Shahin Parhami’s contemplative portrait AMIN, the legacy of the 105-year-old Qashqai classical vocalist Ustad Kiyani is excavated through the poetic journey of a much younger musician and cultural activist, Amin Aghaie. Kiyani’s cultural significance is conveyed through playful, often lyrical, vignettes of contemporary musicians on the streets of Iran, and the larger story of the Qashqai heritage as it was and as it exists in modern-day Iran.
The Qashqai people have a diverse, even mysterious ethnographic origin; once nomadic pastoralists, they have been thought to descend from Mongolia, the Caucasus and Mesopotamia. One of many Qashqai now settled in Iran, Amin is a gifted musician who becomes a cultural soldier of sorts as he attempts to capture the practices of a fast-dying art. Using his handheld camcorder at rest stops, marketplaces and anywhere else he can find people playing Qashqai music, Amin becomes keenly aware of the encroachment of modernity, and the reality that those who most embody the traditions of Qashqai music elders like Ustad Kiyani are vanishing.
Amin’s dedication in preserving a musical heritage that is inherently dependent on oral tradition proves both touching and heart-wrenching as he interacts with sorna and karna musicians, ney and naghareh players, and the legendary Ustad Kiyani (who passed away after the film’s completion). Through this documentation, we see music transcend personal expression, to be the voice of a people, a testimony of a beautiful cultural history, and a witness to a fast-changing society.
Christine Kwon(SFIAAFF)




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Amin is a postgraduate music student, researching for a doctoral degree at the Kiev Conservatory. As part of his study programme, he sets out to explore the increasingly elusive folk music of the ancient Qashqai tribes of southern Iran. This journey of discovery - a fascinating exploration into the heartlands of Iran and the uncovering of a once-vibrant cultural force now eroded into near-obsolescence - is absorbing enough. However director Shahin Parhami's beguiling film soon pulls back the film's focus to explore Amin's own life, his forlorn, threadbare existence forming a melancholy counterpoint to the haunting music he discovers in the empty pastoral landscapes and quiet back alleys of the district. The result is a powerful meditation on collective cultural loss as seen through the eyes of a man, as much on a quest to find himself, as the ancient music he so desperately seeks.

Nashen Moodley(DIFF)




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CINEMASHENA Presents in Association with EYESTEELFILM A SHAHIN PARHAMI FILM
featuring AMIN AGHAIE Producer SHAHIN PARHAMI Associate Producer LARA BRAITSTEIN, PATRICIA DIAZ
Consulting Producer BOB MOORE Music AMIN AGHAIE Sound-Mix DINO EMILIO GIANCOLA.
120 min, Digi-Beta, Colour and B&W, Iran, South Korea, Canada, 2010