Bassidjis are members of a militia group that is intensely loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran and eager to help suppress uprisings against the state. Director Mehran Tamadon has recorded interviews with members of the group that reveal their ideology – and that is a useful project – but the resulting film feels like a series of polemical speeches edited together instead of a cohesive story with characters we come to know and understand within their cultural context. Of the documentaries in competition at RiverRun – all of which are worth seeing – I find this one the least satisfying as a film.
Screenings April 16, 17, and 18 at RiverRun. See the website (http://www.riverrunfilm.com) for details.