Ghazieh-e Shekl-e Aval, Ghazieh-e Shekl-e Dou Wom (First Case, Second Case) (1979) - Abbas Kiarostami


Country: Iran
Language: Persian

First Case, Second Case (Persian: قضيه، شکل اول، شکل دوم, Qazieh, Shekl-e Avval, Shekl-e Dovom) is a documentary about a teacher who sends a group of pupils out of the classroom when one of them does not own up to talking behind the master's back. Kiarostami showed this film to the Shah's educational experts and filmed their opinions. Shooting was nearly complete when, on February 1, Ayatollah Khomeini arrived in Tehran from exile and 10 days later declared an Islamic republic. Kiarostami set about remaking the film, junking the commentaries and changing its structure. He decided he would make the film into a dramatised dilemma: First Case involved pupils refusing to name the guilty party; in Second Case one of the pupils names the culprit and is allowed to return to the classroom. All the new observers, including the new education minister, were filmed commenting on the two cases, many taking the film as a parable about the Shah's secret police. First Case, Second Case was immediately awarded a prize at the Tehran Festival of Films for Children and Young Adults; shortly afterwards, though, the government banned it because its presumed message was deemed subversive and because some of the commentaries came from members of political parties (communist, democratic national front) which had been declared illegal. As a result, the film disappeared from view for decades. It was only shown at a Kiarostami retrospective in Turin in 2003.


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