My Stolen Revolution: A Non-Spoiler Review

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Poster for My Stolen Revolution with figure cloaked in black and a cream mask across the eyes.


My Stolen Revolution (2013) is a Swedish documentary feature film available on Netflix U.K. 58 minutes in length. Rated 15 for violence references, sexual violence references and emotionally intense scenes and photographs. In Swedish and Persian with subtitles.


“As a student, the director managed to flee revolutionary Iran. Many who stayed behind did not survive. When there are renewed protests in Teheran 30 years later, she goes looking for a couple of other survivors who fled. An emotional, very personal documentary.” IMDb

Cast (all as themselves):

Soudabeh Ardavan
Parvaneh Aref
Monireh Baradaran
Azar Al Kanaan
Nazli Partovi
Nahid Persson


Director and scenario writer: Nahid Persson
Cinematographers: Maryam Ebrahimi, Nicklas Karpaty
Composer: Dan Sundquist
Editor: Emil Engerdahl
Sound: Rostam Persson


This is a documentary that is worth watching but, that said, it is not an easy watch.

My Stolen Revolution starts with historical/political context as well as the background and experiences of the documentary filmmaker herself. Parts of her story involving her younger brother especially are tragic. One aspect of this film is that it does come back along the way to her feelings of guilt and her reconciliation with what happened in her past; a past she had buried away for thirty years. This structure did have a negative impact on me at times because even though I could appreciate her viewpoint, it frequently stepped into an uncomfortable area of querying where the focus really was, and indeed should have been.

The testimonies of the women interviewed are compelling and unexpectedly heartwarming at times along with some truly horrific experiences.

The use of clay models made by one, an artist, conveyed the overcrowded living conditions in jail that they had suffered. Most had been in jail for 10 years. Another effective part was where the “mask” and full robe as was enforced upon them in prison was worn. The way also that this artist still managed to draw and paint despite the severe lack of materials (try scraps of paper, strands of your hair and tea!)?

I appreciated how effective the original film and photographs were that were used throughout this. Some are of executions, so be warned.

Listening to these women recount their experiences, the physical and psychological torture, the rape, the mock executions, real executions… all these were very powerful.

What I came away with was not so much how the director overcame her survivor guilt by meeting with these women (I feel conflicted about that whole scenario) but rather how incredibly strong these women were who endured this unspeakable treatment. Yet, also, the enduring scars and psychological damage from traumatic experiences. Finally, what impressed me a great deal was that they retained their sense of humour and were so warm towards each other, even though they had lived together in the most dreadful of circumstances. There was a real bond between them even though they had not seen each other for very many years.

As I wrote at the very start of this review, this is not an easy watch but it is a worthwhile one.


2 Award Wins and 2 Nominations


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