We are delighted to announce that a new series of the Travellers’ Film Club hosted by Waterstones, Piccadilly (203-206, Piccadilly, London) starts this week on Wednesday 27th January, 7pm.
Antony Wynn, author of Persia in the Great Game: Sir Percy Sykes: Explorer, Consul, Soldier, Spy will introduce and discuss GRASS: A Nation’s Battle for Life.
This 1925 silent documentary follows Haidar Khan and his Bakhtiari tribe on their Spring migration across the flooded Karun River and the snowbound Zagros Mountains of southern Persia to their summer pastures. Filmed on location between Turkey and Iran, Grass is the first ethnographical account of the nomadic Bakhtiari people and was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being ‘culturally and historically significant’.
Directed and photographed by Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack (who would later go on to produce ‘King Kong’) and Marguerite Harrison, Grass is deliberately styled as a story of man’s triumph over nature, as much a mythic narrative of migration and settlement as a simple travelogue. Venturing through deserts, mountains, rivers and snowy wastelands in search of the life-sustaining grasslands, the Bakhtiari’s 50,000 strong caravan - complete with 500,000 cattle and goats - become the sole focus of the camera’s gaze.
Antony Wynn, who is Chairman of the Iran Society, lived in Iran for many years and has visited each end of this migration - he has yet to ride the middle part.