The HBO documentary For Neda, directed by Antony Thomas and narrated by famed Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, first aired on HBO in the United States on June 14 but went viral in Iran on June 1, well before the regime even knew about it. In an HBO interview, Mr. Thomas stated that the goal of the film was to look beyond Neda Agha-Soltan as the most prominent symbol of the Green Revolution and into the soul of whom Neda was as a human being. To that end, Mr. Thomas and crew succeeded brilliantly. The emotional rollercoaster ride one undergoes while traversing Neda Soltan’s short but eventful life in For Neda ranges from the tender and sublime to black despair and furious outrage.
At times, For Neda also induces in the viewer an unnerving sense of paranoia. Throughout much of the film, the regime is the evil villain unseen on the screen but whose ominous presence is most keenly felt. The rather ordinary but highly illicit home interview sessions in Iran with Neda’s family and others engender a dark foreboding to the point you almost expect regime jackboots to bust down the doors at any moment. The rest of For Neda is also fraught with many palpable dangers that make the fictional James Bond’s seem trite by comparison. In For Neda, we know that the consequences of regime discovery and reprisal are as perilous, real and horrifying as it gets.