ONE IMAGE, TWO ACTS (2020) with filmmaker Sanaz Sohrabi: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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ONE IMAGE, TWO ACTS (2020) with filmmaker Sanaz Sohrabi

a hand points to an image of an oil field
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Fri March 3, 2023
7 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


ONE IMAGE, TWO ACTS with filmmaker Sanaz Sohrabi

(Sanaz Sohrabi, 2020, 44 min, digital)
Presented with A FIRE (Ebrahim Golestan,1961, 25 min, DCP)
In person: Sanaz Sohrabi


In ONE IMAGE, TWO ACTS, Montreal-based Iranian filmmaker Sanaz Sohrabi draws on the photographic archives of British Petroleum to examine the visual and social history of oil production in Abadan, Iran in the 1950s and 1960s. Before it became BP, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company sought to construct a thoroughly modern oil metropolis in Abadan, exhaustively documenting their operations in photographs and films. This formally inventive essay film examines these corporate images as technologies of social control, placing propaganda alongside scenes from the anti-colonial Iranian New Wave cinema to propose the possibilities of resistance and critique. Following the film, director Sanaz Sohrabi will appear in person for a conversation with Mona Damluji, Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara.

Presented with A FIRE (1961, 25 min, DCP) by Ebrahim Golestan.

Iranian filmmaker and intellectual Ebrahim Golestan's gripping documentary, produced by the National Iranian Oil Company, documents the seventy-day battle to extinguish an oil fire in Khuzestan. Golestan vividly captures the heat of conflagration and the exhaustion of the fire crew, while the complex montage (by famed poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad) radiates outward to explore the community whose traditional labor proceeds in the shadow of the blaze.

Filmmaker Sanaz Sohrabi and Prof. Mona Damluji, Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


About the series:

Across a feast of genres, including melodrama, comedy, thriller, and documentary, the films of Crude Aesthetics: Oil on Film reveal the entanglement of visual culture with the dark progress of the global oil industry during the past century. The power of oil, its predatory optimism, has left a fascinating, contradictory, and sometimes vanishingly subtle record in the history of cinema. Programmed as part of the Kaplan Humanities Center’s “Energies” Dialogues, Crude Aesthetics brings together screenings, talks, and discussions to explore the ways film media of the past century have shaped how we see — or learn not to see — the fuller impacts of our fatalistic dependence on oil.

Co-presented with support from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Climate Crisis and Media Arts Working Group, the Department of English, the Environmental Humanities Working Group, the Comparative Literary Studies program, the Department of Radio, Television, and Film, the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, the Department of French & Italian, the Middle East and North African Studies program, the School of Communications Humanities Council, the Environmental Policy & Culture Program, and the Screen Cultures program at Northwestern University.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at