Film series In the Name of Scheherazade or the First Beer Garden in Tehran

Still from In the Name of Scheherezade or the First Beer Garden in Tehran, dir. Narges Kalhor, 2019 © Narges Kalhor

Wed, 09/21/2022

8:00 PM

Comfort Station Logan Square

Kino x 3: Migrant/Lives

In the Name of Scheherazade or the First Beer Garden in Tehran is many films folded into one: a rerouting of Orientalist narratives, a critique of German immigration bureaucracy, and an examination of filmmaking itself.

Iranian director Narges Kalhor – who sought political asylum in Germany in 2009 – plays herself as she struggles to finish her film In the Name of Scheherazade. Her academic advisor, however, would much rather she make a straightforward documentary more legible to a German audience, about an Iranian woman trying to open the first beer garden in Tehran, where alcohol is illegal. The film-within-a-film interweaves a range of stories: an animated musical version of The Arabian Nights, a live-action Scheherazade telling her stories to the king in front of a green screen, a queer Syrian immigrant performing his queerness in the hopes of being granted asylum, and, most of all, Kalhor herself, engaged in the politically charged, never-straightforward act of self-representation.