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Self Portrait and Other Ruins

by Ghazal Ramzani

Germany, Iran

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An exiled dancer returns home after her grandmothers sudden Covid death and unveils memories of loss through movement. In her childhood home, the dancer's body becomes a place of remembrance, revealing echoes of countless lives etched on the walls.

Ghazal Ramzani's debut dance film, "Self-Portrait and Other Ruins," is a poetic tribute to her foremothers' legacy of resistance. Directed, choreographed, danced, and produced by Ramzani, the film traces the emotional odyssey of the artist against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic in Qaemshahr, Iran. Triggered by her grandmother's passing due to the virus, her return home after years of exile unveils memories of loss. At the heart of this dance film lies the notion of self as a collective entity, fragmented by repeated traumas of displacement and separation. In her childhood home, the dancer's body becomes a place of remembrance, revealing not just her story but echoes of countless lives etched on the walls. The medium of film allows the movements to unfold in the solitude of the modest home, for Ghazal Ramzani, a place of observation, emotion, and dance - the very bedrock of her artistic expression. Contemplating the collective self, fractured by loss, united in resistance, the artist reshapes the ruins of the past into a fragmented self-portrait – a kinetic archive of female working-class history, a site of resistance where love and laughter let the door open for healing.

words from the filmmaker

"Self-Portrait and Other Ruins" evolved in a 10 months process during the Covid 19 pandemic in my hometown Qaemshahr-Mazandaran/Iran. My grandmother's death due to the virus opened old wounds that exile had inflicted on my body. She was my earth and my homeland. In her empty house, memories of a lost paradise that still is my deepest longing, started moving my body. Carried by an always present past, I started dancing, in every room, in the yard, through memories. I danced with long-departed bodies. With my eyes shut I became my mother's rebellion, my grandmother's smile, my great-grandmother's lullaby. I became the growing ancestral tree. In „Self-Portrait and Other Ruins“ I pay tribute to my female ancestors and to their legacy of pain, love and resistance.

why we love this film

We could feel the pain and emotional rehabilitation through the screen. The death of a matriarch always yields ripples of grief.


Concept, Choreography, Dancer, Videography

Music Composition/Performance & Production

Dramatic Adviser

Ghazal Ramzani

Ella Bergström 

Niusha Ramzani

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Self Portrait and Other Ruins

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