“Aban and Khorshid”
Two Lovers, Even in Death
Before they are to die because they are gay, spend their last moments together looking at the world and remembering how they met. As you can well imagine, this is not an easy film to watch but it a very important one to see. Darwin Serink’s short film is about the atrocious reality of homosexuals being persecuted in countries where being gay is still illegal. The number of countries amounts to 76 and in at least 5 of them, death penalty is the sentence. The film is inspired by true events that are documented at the end.
Set in an undefined Middle Eastern country’s prison, Aban (Mojean Aria) and Khorshid (Bobby Naderi) share their final moments of intimacy. Seeing a heartbreaking and powerful film like this makes us realize how lucky we are to live in a part of the world where we’re free to be ourselves and how we need to do all we can in order to bring positive change to countries that are inhumane in reactionary ways. Though it is only fifteen minutes in length, we see surprising aspect of the quality of love even in the most threatening of circumstances.
Darwin Serink has stated publicly that his film was based on his response to a photograph of real life men Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni as they were being hanged for an alleged crime which in reality was the ‘crime’ of being gay. ‘The incident–and the resulting photo from the Iranian Student News Agency of the two men’s hanging sparked outrage, concern and inspired director Serink, “It is one of those images that ingrained itself in my mind and never left,” he said. “As a gay filmmaker I am using my talents to say something about the atrocities committed to gays in Iran.”
Asgari and Marhoni’s case drew international attention from human-rights activists, who claim the men were executed because they were gay. The incident and the resulting photo from the Iranian Student News Agency of the two men’s hanging sparked outrage, concern and, inspired people to speak out. (The third photo is of the actual hanging).