The Rise and Fall of Paykan
Directed by: Shahin Armin, Sohrab Daryabandari
2016 / 78 min
Persian with English subtitles
On the spring of 1967, when the first Paykan rolled off the assembly line on an outskirt of Tehran, no one thought this car would be produced for 38 years, or that it could have such an impact on a whole nation.
Iran’s Arrow features numerous talking heads who share a common interest for the country’s emblematic car, ranging from historical to sociological analyses, from technical to artistic expertise and from sheer passion to a complicated love-hate relationship. The film uses rare archival footage, as well as a large collection of vintage photos and imagery, to document thehistory of Paykan, the way it’s been perceived throughout the years, and its links with Iran’s major historical and sociological landmarks, such as the White Revolution (1963), the industrialization, the rise of the middle class, the Islamic Revolution (1979), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), and social economic mutations of the post-war era.
Older Paykan owners – including official and unofficial taxi drivers- testify of the fundamental role it played and still plays in their everyday life, as a means of transport, a source of income, and sometimes an achievement in itself. A number of Paykan enthusiasts, most of them from the younger generation, are being interviewed about their very special relationship with the car they grew up with. The film also documents the decline of the Paykan, while showing how it is still very much alive in the culture and memory of the country. Interviews are also conducted with artists who use Paykan as a medium or the subject of their art.
Shahin Armin is an automotive design-engineer and a lifelong Paykan expert. Born in Tehran and a car enthusiast before he could even talk or walk, he moved to the US in his twenties and worked in the US car industry for 13 years (Chrysler, Michigan and Honda America, Ohio).
Although he worked on the design of modern and sophisticated cars, he could never get the Paykan out of his head. In 2009 he started thePaykanHunter.com blog, thus initiating an extensive research about Iran’s emblematic car. Upon returning to Tehran in 2012, he co-curated two Paykan themed art exhibitions exhibiting work from prominent Iranian artists.
Iran’s Arrow is a result of his many years of extensive research into the history of this car, his experiences interacting with his fellow Paykan enthusiasts, and his comprehensive understanding of the car’s impact on Iranian society.
Sohrab Daryabandari is a Tehran based professional photographer and filmmaker whose 25 year-long career has been stretching between almost all areas of expertise in analog and digital photography. His work has ranged from journalistic, commercial, and artistic to architectural and industrial photography, which later lead him to editing as well as industrial, artistic and documentary filmmaking.
His photographic work, which was regularly exhibited and published in Iran and Europe, has later been influencing his filmmaking, notably in Dammam (Iran, 2003) and Sharveh (Iran, 2005), his two documentaries on ethnic Iranian music.
Iran’s Arrow owes him its remarkable photography, the minute treatment of archive material, and its overall filmmaking and editing quality, considering the conditions of production and the limited resources.