The Swedish-Iranian filmmaker Nahid Persson is known for uncompromisingly critical films about her native country. In her latest documentary, she focuses on the Iranian journalist Ruhollah Zam.
Like many of his colleagues, Zam operates from abroad, in his case France, due to the lack of press freedom in Iran. Drawing on secret sources and anonymous video footage, and constantly speaking on the phone from his small home, he exposes the corruption and hypocrisy of the Iranian regime. He does so at the risk of his own life and lives under permanent guard.
In matter-of-fact style but with mounting tension, the documentary shows Zam’s suffocating existence. In his world, everyone seems to be spying on each other—even fellow journalists don’t trust each other. The scandals are huge, the amounts of money embezzled astronomical, and the atmosphere is sometimes unbearably tense. Who is the mysterious millionaire from Australia? How reliable is Shirin, Zam’s intermediary? The film seems more like a spy thriller than a documentary. But tragically, it’s all too real.