The 3D Carpet


The 3D Carpet by Rakhshan Banietemad is the second episode of Persian Carpet (2008) seeking the mastermind behind the 3D carpet based on Shah Mosque portal. The movie begins with a quotation from the filmmaker

Carpet, Art, Iran, Carpet is the art of Iranians.

Rakhshan Banietemad

A Grandiose Claim

On an answering machine a man suggests the director, Rakhshan Banietemad, to make her short film about an unprecedented 3D carpet designed by Mr. Ahmadi. The filmmaker invites him to an interview in Tehran to know ins and outs of this masterpiece. This seventeen-year-old boy claims that he has come up with the 3D carpet pattern based on the entrance of Shah Mosque, in Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan. Showing the different pictures of completed carpet on laptop, Mr. Ahmadi is explaining the invention of carpet loom, pattern and procedure of its completion.

The 3D Carpet Film
Mr. Ahamdi explaining the 3D Carpet to Rakhshan Banietemad

In order to verify his claim, Banietemad asks Mr. Heshmati, a carpet expert, to question him more about the carpet. Initially, he is surprised to see the pictures because he knows nearly all carpet weavers and dealers in Isfahan, but he has never heard about this 3D carpet. In a dialogue, she seeks the reason behind his quest,

Banietemad: Why did you decide to make this carpet, since you have never done any carpet designing before?

Mr. Ahmadi: (Smoking) I have rarely designed a carpet, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t know it.  I am an ambitious person.    

A New Claim from Isfahan

Mr. Ahmadi invites her to Isfahan to see the carpet with her own eyes. The voice over narrator, the director herself, informs us that she receives another phone call from Isfahan which changes the plan. The female voice says

Mrs. Banietemad, there seems to be a problem regarding your short film project. The real designer his carpet is my father, Mr. Akbar Zarrinnaghse who live in Isfahan.

A female voice on answering machine
Persian Carpet 2008
Mr. Zarrinnaqshe in Isfahan

As the camera shows the view of si-o-se-pol Bridge in Isfahan, the filmmaker tells us that she couldn’t find the name of Mr. Ahamadi in any of her research. Next, at Mr. Zarrinnaqshe painting institute, Banietemad asks him how he designs the carpet. He replies,

This pattern, my knowledge about this kind of painting, particularly Shah mosque portal and its interior, could have outlined with computer. But, I did it according on its old style in Safavid Time, imaging then once the portal of Shah Mosque is completed, they have asked for the exact carpet plan. I can’t say anything about the carpet, because I haven’t seen it complete yet.

Mr. Zarrinnaqshe

The Mastermind Behind the 3D Carpet

The narrator continues that he doesn’t know Mr. Ahamdi either and the mastermind behind this carpet is only Mr. Omrani, not anyone else. To see him, they drive to Dehno village in Isfahan. At his house, she asks the reason behind this carpet weaving from him which he answers,

The honest answer is that I don’t know. Do you know why? We have a wisdom, an imagination, and a memory. The imagination fools the wisdom. While the wisdom says it is impossible, the imagination says go ahead, who says it is possible.

Mr. Omrani
Portal Shah Mosque
Portal Shah Mosque, Isfahan

In addition to his husband comment, Mrs. Omrani says, “It takes four years to weave this carpet with the help of 14 weavers including me. We weaved the bottom blue tiles three times, each takes nearly five hours to do. But, he shows up saying it doesn’t match exactly with the real blue tiles of the mosque”. Banietemad asks Mr. Omrani to watch Mr. Ahmadi’s claim on a video cassette. He tells that he has heard the voice of man, but never seen him. At first, he is surprised, but he bursts into tears as to see him claiming the invention of this 3D carpet. Mr. Omrani has told about this carpet to several people in Carpet exhibitions eagerly.

The 3D Carpet movie
Mr. Omrani and His wife

In order to prove his claim, he brings out the 3D carpet out of the basement to show it an open space to the film crew. Mr. Omrani set a meeting with Mr. Ahmadi, but he never shows up, in addition to turn off his mobile phone.

I wish there would be a place where art students, architects, sculptures, university professors just visit this carpet. Show it in western countries, Europeans and America. The carpet belongs to Iran.

Mr. Omrani’s Wish
Shah Mosque 3D Carpet
Portal Shah Mosque 3D Carpet

Mr. Ahmadi’s absent leaves his grandiose claim vague and ambiguous for the director. She convinces herself that the creation of this 3D carpet was the dream of that smart boy. The 3D carpet of Shah Mosque reruns to basement in hope of a show exhibition or a buyer. For the last time, she tries to contact Mr. Ahmadi , but his phone is off.

Rakhshan Banietemad Perspective

In the second episode of Persian Carpet (2008), Rakhshan Banietemad sets off on a quest to discover the genius behind the Shah Mosque 3D Carpet. In fact, she is putting forward the idea of plagiarism in hand-made carpet industry in Iran. Her journey allows us to see the fake carpet weaver and the genuine one. The humble originator has showed his creative art in several places. In place of gaining admiration, he remains unknown in his home, whereas the imitators and plagiarizers brazenly brag about their craftsmanship and ingenuity. The Shah Mosque 3D Carpet has been kept in the owner’s basement for nearly two years and at the end of the film returns to basement again. The mystery of creator is solved; however, the carpet, a masterpiece to be looked at, goes back to shadows in hope of true admirer or carpet collector.    

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Where Was Ten Little Indians Filmed?

Ten Little Indians 1974 Poster

Ten Little Indians, aka, And Then There Were None was filmed in pre-Revolution Iran by Peter Collinson. The setting of the film is quite tricky. The first shot of the film shows two important monuments in Iran, Persepolis and Shah Mosque in the middle of desert.

Where Was Ten Little Indians Filmed
Ten Little Indians 1974 Opening Scene- Persepolis & Shah Mosque

Perepolis, Shiraz

Then the film cuts to the deserted ruins of Persepolis while we hear a gust of wind sound. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of Achaemenid Empire in 5th century BC.

Ten Little Indians film location Persepolis
Deserted Persepolis in Ten Little Indians 1974

Shah Mosque, Isfahan

After that, the film jumps to the Shah Mosque. As the camera moves down, we see Elsa Marino (played by Maria Rohm), the female servant of the hotel in a white blouse with sunglasses on, waiting for arrival of the doomed guests.

Maria Rohm in Ten Little Indians -Shah Mosque Isfahan
Maria Rohm in Ten Little Indians -Shah Mosque Isfahan

As she is looking at the open desert before her, the tile of the films appears. So did the credit.

Ten Little Indians was filmed in Iran
Ten Little Indians was filmed in Iran (1974)

The pre-credit sequence and the post-credit of Ten Little Indians is the fruit of editors’ sleight of hand. I mean that, the editors put Persepolis and Shah Mosque, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Iran, next to each other which geographically speaking is not right. Shah Mosque is in Isfahan while Persepolis is in Shiraz. The editors reduce the nearly 500 kilometers to almost 30 meters.

Shah Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan

That is not the end. There is more to it. Since Ten Little Indians is an adaptation from Agatha Christie whodunit novel, the director decides to set his film in an isolated place to emphasize its enigmatic atmosphere. So, we see the mysterious hotel in a middle of a nowhere next to the Persepolis ruins. It is not the end of the story. As the ill-fated guests enter the mysterious hotel, the viewers witness shots of Hotel Abbasi Isfahan that is one kilometer away from the entrance of Shah Mosque or New Abbasi Mosque before.

Ten Little Indians in Abbasi Hotel Isfahan

So, the opening of the Ten Little Indians is as weird as the story itself. Click here for Ten Little Indians film review.

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