Things do not always pan out as expected, especially in unfamiliar territories, such as it was for the three protagonists in the film Inside Iran. Each one of them has their own story, and all of them related in some way to Iran. Their lives are full of questions, questions that cover curiosities of the land, the people, and most importantly, questions of themselves that need answering. It was together that they went to pursue the right answers, and along their quest, they conquer the highest mountain of Persia.
Stemming out of Bayern, their home region, the three came together to tackle one goal, Iran. With all three carrying individually shaped motivations on their shoulders, they came together to pursue a mutual mission of self-discovery. Lugging along for the mission was Puria Ravahi, who he claims to be “Bayern’s Persian of the world.” Born in Iran, the well-known filmmaker was eager to realign with his roots. Accompanying Puria, was photographer Andreas Jacobsen who himself wanted to capture Iran through the lens of his camera and open his eyes to a new corner of the globe. Tied between a kingdom that reigned supreme in the days of Alexander the Great and the modern day horror that has unfortunately torn the country from its glory, Iran makes for a highly engaging memoir that needed to be made. The third of the bunch is Thomas ‘Butchy’ Buttchereit, a character who was keen to celebrate a strong comeback and to turn his back to the previous years of struggle. Butchy at his prime was through and through an athlete and adventurer. Naturally, he then took a turn for prioritizing family and his job. Now, he plans to rejuvenate his sporting nature in Damavand. Together, the three will be Inside Iran.
Climbing Damavand, a mountain boasting 5,671m among the Persian Alps, was never perceived less than a challenge. The team were well aware of its physical and mental demands. Acclimatizing for the mountain was the first on the list of to-do’s, though with the weather turning sour, their time window was narrowing down fast. Despite the issues with altitude and the miserable weather, the three pressed on to reach the peak. With the will of iron and being amidst a greater mission, the trio not only scaled the Damavand, it was a moment of realization that the bigger quest had begun. Even Butchy, a former extreme athlete, experienced the extreme degree of physical suffering the endeavor promised, yet the summit managed to succeed in activating that mental reset button. Returning to his former strengths, to his ever present passion for action and this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, Butchy was able to kick-start his Mountopia from then and there.
With a summit climb in the bag, it was now the time for Puria to realize his original goal, which was to explore his roots. In Teheran, the town that birthed him, the three were welcomed by Wahed Ravahi, Purias father. “Islamic revolution had suffocated our home, our town, with fear, and we needed to flee”, explains Wahed. Since 1980, the family has been residing in Rosenheim in the south of Germany, which is the home of Purias’ mother. Now that things have quietened in Iran, the family sought out to find their former home in their beloved Teheran. After hours of wandering, Wahed was confident that they had finally found foot of their home. Then it got better. Even their former neighbor was living in the same home next door, confirming that they had returned to the right place. Reminiscent of memories, the group huddled together in a circle to indulge in strong tea and sweet biscuit until the heart was satisfied. They then turned to the door to ring to introduce themselves to the current occupants. Naturally, the new tenants were more than understanding of the Ravahi family’s sentiments – a true element of Persian hospitality.
With ascetic momentum, following the heels of one another in our airtight packed cluster, we dragged our heavy legs through the storm. It was whiteout. With no orientation for time nor knowing what is up or down, we persisted in maintaining our direct ascent line to the top. Our minds were busy with the constant thought of, “Is this the right path to finding the answer? Is the strain worth it?” Nevertheless, resilience is a powerful tool the mind can harness. “Keep going! Maintain the grind and push through. Don’t watch the clock, do what it does. Keep going. For this quest, there are far too many questions that need answers for which we cannot ignore.”
Three protagonists, three stories, one Mountopia.
Islamic revolution had suffocated our home, our town, with fear, and we needed to flee.
So, this was how Butchy’s comeback had been sealed into a sport-destined future through the conquest of Damavand. Puria managed to relocate back to his former home together with his father. And Andreas? Well, he found his answers with simply being a part of the journey. Being together with Puria and Butchy, Andreas had a lengthy photographic documentation of the memories. Photos that needn’t any explanation for situations that couldn’t be more intimate. Puria, Butchy and Andreas – together, were Inside Iran.