Ajyal Film Festival 2024

All Films

Land of Dreams

Special Screening, Ajyal at Vox, Ajyal at Katara - Ajyal Film Festival 2021

Shirin Neshat, Shoja Azari / Feature Narrative / United States of America, Germany, Qatar / 2021 / 113 min / Colour / DCP / In English, Farsi / Arabic, English subtitles / MENA Premiere
Rated: Mature subject matter. Not suitable for minors. Individuals under the age of 18 are not admitted into cinemas.


Simin is an Iranian woman on a journey to discover what it means to be a free American. She works for the Census Bureau, which, in an effort to control its citizens, has begun a programme to record their dreams. Unaware of this devious plot, Simin is torn between her compassion for those whose dreams she is recording and a truth she must find within. Haunted by the fact that her father was executed in Iran, Simin has developed a coping mechanism through a world of fantasy and playacting. She captures her interviewees' dreams, secretly impersonates them in Farsi and publishes them on social media, where she finds a growing Iranian audience.

Soon Simin meets Mark; a drifter, a free soul, and a poet who declares his love for her at first sight; and Alan, a cynical cowboy turned detective, full of machismo and the American spirit of adventure. As Simin enters the triad, she finds the two men's competition and conflicts amusing and silently enjoys the ride. Playful and poignant, 'Land of Dreams' acknowledges in a surreal and satirical way, the greatness of the American experiment while offering a warning beacon for what could come.

About the Director

Born in Qazvin, Iran in 1957, Shirin Neshat is an Iranian artist and filmmaker living in New York. She has been the recipient of the Golden Lion Award at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), and the Silver Lion Award at the 66th Venice Film Festival (2009), for her first feature film ‘Women Without Men’. Shirin Neshat’s second feature film ‘Looking for Oum Kulthum’ (2017), which screened at Ajyal 2017, was based on the life of the legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum. Shirin is also world-renowned for her video art installations, the latest being 'Land of Dreams', which she developed together with this film.

Shoja Azari was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1957. Azari is a visual artist and filmmaker living in New York. He has directed several feature films, including ‘K’, based on three short stories by Franz Kafka (2000); ‘Windows’ (2006); ‘Simple Little Lives’ (2015); and ‘Badria’ (2017). Azari has been a long-time collaborator with visual artist Shirin Neshat, co-directing ‘Women Without Men’, and ‘Looking for Oum Kulthum’. Azari’s artworks have been widely exhibited internationally and are in major museum collections.


Shirin Neshat, Shoja Azari
Jean-Claude Carrière, Shoja Azari
Amir Hamz, Sol Tryon, Christian Springer
Mike Selemon
Executive Producer
Amir Neshat, Shirin Neshat, Fahri Yardim, Mark Amin
Michael Brook
Ghasem Ebrahimian
Sales Company
Beta Cinema
Production Company
Bon Voyage Films GmbH, Palodeon Pictures LLC, Land of Dreams LLC
Scott Hirsch, Craig Parker, Stefan Chakerian
Set Designer
Rick Gilbert
Beta Cinema
Sheila Vand, Matt Dilllon, William Moseley, Isabella Rossellini

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