Director:                             Arvand Dashtaray                  

Producer:                           Hossein Akbari

Production Company:        Virgule FPAC

Executive Producer:            Marene van Holk, Amir Keyvan Salehi

Screenwriter:                       Naghmeh Samini

Cinematographer:               Peyman Shadmanfar

Editor:                                  N/A

Production Designer:           Arvand Dashtaray

Original Music:                     Ehsan Sedigh

Sound Designer:                  Ali Alavian

Sound Recordist:                  Mehran Malekuti

Costume Designer:               Shylan Ashyari

Make-Up Artist:                    Misha Jodat

Photographer:                      Kiarash Mosayebi


Marene van Holk, Arvand Dashtaray, Azadeh Mirzaei, Tahere Hezaveh, Diba Khatami, Sanaz Bagheri, Meysam Nowrouzi, Meisam Mirzaeim, Amin Yazdani Nejad, Romina Davachi, Narges Saeidi Nejad, Keivan Jodeiri


In one continuous take, the film follows the various members of a young Iranian theater company during their secret rehearsals of Macbeth at their Director’s home in Tehran, while he works with them remotely from Paris via video call. Their dream is to submit the play to the Edinburgh Theater Festival on time, but things get complicated when their personal conflicts escalate, and their hidden agendas come into light. The heated tensions reach their climax when a mysterious tragedy threatens to put their work into a complete halt. The complex layers of their reality are slowly unraveled as the film seamlessly fuses the past with the present, the fiction with the non-fiction, even crossing the bridge to reality with the actors performing as themselves.


The debut feature film by the renown Iranian theater director Arvand Dashtaray, THE ABSENT DIRECTOR, is a gripping non-linear narrative shot in a single continuous take that balances on the edge between the real and the scripted.

The relentlessly ever-present camera keeps the viewer submerged in the world of a young Iranian theater company, who have gathered to rehearse Macbeth at their director’s home in Tehran. The personal and interpersonal conflicts and relationships inside this very intimate working environment are unraveled both in real time and through flashbacks, yet without a single cut. When the tension reaches its peak, a sudden tragedy threatens to forever change this lively group dynamic. The actors lend their names to the characters and together with other real-life events surrounding the making of the film the biggest question is: how much of the story is rooted in reality, how close it comes to reveal some concealed truth about the world of its makers?

Shot in just 13 days after a challenging half a year of rehearsals and writing, Dashtaray’s vision to revolutionize our expectations of Iranian cinema is brought to life by creating both technically and politically daring work. Without any governmental funding, Dashtaray delivers a fresh image of the Iranian society and its daily struggles, providing a stark contrast to the fetishized imagery of Iran in the mainstream media.


A young theater company secretly rehearses Macbeth at their Director’s home in Tehran, hoping for it to become their ticket into the Edinburgh Theater Festival and out of Iran. Racing against time, they must deal with their director working remotely from Paris, their ever-growing personal conflicts, and a tragedy that strikes under mysterious circumstances.


Film Title:                              The Absent Director              

Original Film Title:                Dar Naboude Kargardan

Language:                             Farsi, English 

Subtitles:                               English

Category:                              (1st) Feature

Genre:                                    Drama, Experimental

Country of Production:          Iran

Year of Production:                2021


 Running Time:                     86. Min.

Picture:                                  Color              

Aspect Ratio:                         02:01  

Sound Format:                       Rbi

Frame Rate:                            24 fps