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The Sealed Soil

A woman crouching by a stream.
June 15, 2024 - 7:30 pm
In-person: 
filmmaker Marva Nabili.


The Sealed Soil

Iran, 1977

Restoration world premiere

The predictable rhythms of daily life in a rural village belie the radical upheaval and quiet resistance at work in writer-director Marva Nabili’s history-making debut, the earliest complete surviving feature film directed by an Iranian woman. As her family and neighbors prepare to relocate their entire community to make way for a government-mandated construction project, a young woman rebels against the restrictions imposed on her after reaching marrying age. Refusing all suitors, she cultivates a private inner world that her family interprets as demonic possession. An extraordinarily subtle but powerful exploration of female subjugation and resistance, The Sealed Soil returns to the big screen after almost 50 years in this restoration world premiere.

DCP, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 90 min. Director: Marva Nabili. Screenwriter: Marva Nabili. With: Flora Shabaviz. 

Digitally restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the Golden Globe Foundation, Century Arts Foundation, Farhang Foundation and Mark Amin. Restored from the 16mm original A/B negatives, color reversal internegative, magnetic track and optical track negative. Laboratory services by illuminate Hollywood, Corpus Fluxus, Endpoint Audio Labs, Audio Mechanics, Simon Daniel Sound. Special thanks to Thomas Fucci, Marva Nabili and Garineh Nazarian.