The Words of the Chairman
Die Worte des Vorsitzenden / The Words of the Chairman
West Germany, 1967, 16mm
I was on a ship – this sounds like a novel: I had just embarked for Venezuela on June 2, 1967 as the Shah of Iran was arriving in West Berlin. There were protests, a student was shot, and a new form of opposition movement came into existence. The idea for this film came to me while I was still aboard the ship. The film is structured like a commercial. The film takes a metaphor literally: words can become weapons. However, it also shows that these weapons are made of paper. The weapon spoiled everything for the Shah and his wife; they are wearing paper bags on their heads with faces drawn on them – the kind of bags worn by Iranian students during demonstrations to hide their identity from the Savak, the Iranian Secret Service. When I showed this film to the audiences in the late 60s, it was highly praised. I think people understood then that over obviousness is also a form of irony. This capacity was lost a few years later. I think it’s coming back today.
*Screening along with Videograms of a Revolution (€5 ticket includes both films)