No Land's Song

Ayat Najafi

France, Germany, Iran, 2017 / 93 min / English, Farsi and French OV with French subtitles / Documentary

A battle for freedom of speech and music in Iran. 

In Iran, since the revolution of 1979, women are no longer allowed to sing in public as soloists – at least in front of men. Defying censorship and taboos, the young composer Sara Najafi is determined to organize an official concert for solo female singers. In order to support their fight, Sara and the Iranian singers, Parvin Namazi and Sayeh Sodeyfi, invite three female singers from Paris, Elise Caron, Jeanne Cherhal and Emel Mathlouthi, to join them in Tehran and collaborate on their musical project, re-opening a musical bridge between France and Iran. Are they going to succeed and finally come together in Tehran, sing freely, side-by-side, in front of a mixed audience and without restrictions, and thus open a door towards a new freedom for women in Iran?

“No Land's Song” is a political thriller and a musical journey that never loses track of its real focus – the female voice.

The screening of "No Land's Song" is organised by neimënster and the actions platform JIF 2017 in the context of the International Women's Day.

After the screening of "No Land's Song", a concert co-financed by the Fonds Asile, Migration et Intégration (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) and the OLAI (Luxembourgish Office for the Welcoming and Integration) is going to take place at neimënster.

Sun 12/03 18:00 Neimënster FR & ANG OV with FR SUBT Public

“‘No Land's Song’” stands out among other recent fest-circuit films about attempts to revive forgotten or suppressed music. In following the efforts of composer Sara Najafi (the director's sister) to overcome religious prohibitions on female singing and mount a cross-cultural concert in Tehran, the film offers not only rich musical content, but a unique look at persistent repression and bureaucracy in Iran.” John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter, 17/07/2015  

“[This] gripping chronicle of [composer Sara Najafi's] efforts covers a nearly three-year period and is as full of ups and downs as a roller coaster, and bursting with beautiful music.” Alissa Simon
Variety, 20/10/2015

“Candid in its views about the Iranian government’s attitudes toward women, “No Land’s Song” sears its protagonist’s story into the hearts of viewers with a narrative of artistic resistance, humor, friendship, and, ultimately, triumph in a country notorious for denying women’s rights.” The New York Times

  • Audience Award - Festival des Cinq Continents, 2016 (France)
  • Special Award - Cinema Del Reale, 2016 (Italy)
  • Peace Film Award - Unabhängiges Filmfest Osnabrück, 2015 (Germany)
  • Audience Award – Middle East Now Festival Florence, 2015 (Italy)
  • Nestor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking – Human Rights Watch Film Festival New York, 2015 (USA)
  • Audience Award for Best Documentary Film – Montreal World Film Festival, 2014 (Canada)
  • Best Documentary Director – NOOR Iranian Film Festival Los Angeles, 2014 (USA)
  • Youth Jury Award – DOK Leipzig Festival, 2014 (Germany)
  • Best Documentary (DOCUFICX Award) – 52nd Gijon International Film Festival, 2014 (Spain)
Cast & Credits
Sara Najafi, Elise Caron, Jeanne Cherhal, Emel Mathlouthi
Ayat Najafi
Koohyar Kalari, Sarah Blum
Sasan Nakhai, Dana Farzanehpour, Julien Brossier
Sara Najafi, Parvin Namazi, Sébastien Hoog, Edward Perraud, Maryam Tajhdeh
Torero Film, HANFGARN&UFER, CHAZ Productions
Chaz productions

Born in Tehran in 1976, Ayat Najafi studied scenography in his hometown. Since 2000, he has shown his plays to both Iranian and international audiences. In 2003 Najafi founded the Arta Atelier, focusing on an interdisciplinary multimedia approach to theater and directed several experimental shorts and documentaries. In 2005 he took part in the Berlinale Talent Campus, with his short “Move it”. His first feature documentary, “Football under Cover”, won two Teddy awards at the 2008 Berlin Festival.

  • 2014 - No Land's Song (documentary)
  • 2008 - Football Under Cover (documentary)