Living in the very populated city of Tehran in Iran since I was a young boy gave me the chance to be confronted by the reality of a lot of people struggling with poverty and homelessness in the streets, some mentally broken down and living without shelter. My parents were divorced when I was a child so I’ve always felt a connection between them and myself. This connection always gave me a sense of responsibility towards the issue of “having no home”.
At the end of the year 2003, an earthquake shook the city of Bam, in one of the southern provinces of Iran, with a death toll of more than 26,000 and 30,000 casualties. As a photographer, along with one of my colleagues, I traveled to Bam to cover the earthquake aftermath. After reaching there, the terrible pain of those who had lost their homes got to me in a heartbeat. I tried to get back home as soon as I could, as I could not handle the tragedy. Eventually, I ended up in an army airplane with a lot of causalities who were sent to other cities of Iran to be hospitalized. I was placed beside an injured girl who had lost a leg. I spoke to her and she began to express her loss and feelings to me. She had lost her home, her loved ones and a leg but could still find it in herself to smile. I could not begin to describe the beauty of her soul and her optimism. During the time in the airplane, I took a photo of an old man which was published and sold later on; and the money was donated to those affected by the disaster. I wanted to do more since I had some experience in writing, I saw an opportunity to write a story, trying to express what I had witnessed. That is how “Home & The Homeless Man” was initially born.
It took 14 days to be written but 15 years to be finalized in a solid form that I was happy with. The first version of the work was a solo street performance that I performed in Vienna in 2005 and in Paris in 2008. Although I did not receive a lot of productive feedback from my audiences, I believed in the work and thanks to my instructors in the TV & Film Department of Eastern Mediterranean University and with the help of my friend Zack Peyman, it stayed alive long enough to be made into a film for a new audience today; and for the memory of the people who initially inspired it.
Directed by Nima B. Djavidani (Cyprus)