“The Gardener,” coming out today in select cities, is a new documentary about Baha’ism directed by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf (“The Bicyclist,” “Kandahar”). Documentary was filmed in Jerusalem, Haifa (where the Baha’i world organization is located) and Acre (Saint Jean D’Acre), in Israel. In it, the director himself and his real-life son Maysam try and come to terms with world religions through the lens of Baha’ism (an Iranian-made religion like Zoroastrianism) over various impassioned debates about the positive and negative aspects of Baha’ism. The film was shot in the colorful surroundings of the Baha’i Gardens.
Baha’ism, a faith which counts seven million believers, has as one of its doctrines “all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God” [WIKI].
“The Gardener” is likely the first time in thirty years that an Iranian filmmaker has directed a movie in Israel. It’s a deeply spiritual journey which should appeal to any open-minded viewer.
In an interview about the film Makhmalbaf said, “our Iranian countrymen know more about the Indian, Chinese and Japanese religion than those that originated in Iran. Maybe that’s how the censorship wanted it. ‘The Gardener’ is an attempt to break free from that censorship.”
This is the first film to be made by a major world director about the Baha’i faith.