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My Lost Iran.png

The Remarkable Journey of
a Jewish Iranian Army General who became an American citizen


A heartfelt story of love, hope and family survival amidst the turbulence of revolution, war and exodus, this feature documentary tells the story of Dr. Saeed Rabanzadeh, a rabbi’s son, who rose to the level of Brigadier General in the Iranian Royal Army during the 1970s. Though he continued his service and survived the post Islamic Revolution mass executions of military leaders, ultimately, he felt forced to leave his beloved country. In his final years in Iran, Dr. Rabanzadeh saved hundreds of Iranians on numerous occasions as the head of the army’s public health and food supply for soldiers. Immigrating with his family to the US, he overcame the challenges of adapting to a new culture and language, and a new profession.


Most everyone alive during the 1970s remembers news stories about American hostages, threats against Israel and the terrorist nature of the Iranian Islamic regime. CNN news archives are replete with reports of the Revolution, war with Iraq and political negotiations that took place among world leaders over the past forty years. But what do Americans know about the people of Iran? Who are they? Are all Iranians the raging fundamentalists we’ve seen on TV during the past few decades? Or are the citizens of Iran from diverse backgrounds and schools of thought? And what impact did historical events and changing political regimes have on Iranians of different backgrounds and persuasions?

My Lost Iran takes an innovative approach to understanding these events.  Through the reflections of Dr. Saeed Rabanzadeh's family members on his personal journey, the film invites audiences to explore the complexity of experiences for both Jews and non-Jews in Iran. How did they experience the Pahlavi period and the era following the Islamic Revolution differently? Equally important, what were the various experiences of Iranians seeking refuge in the United States, a nation they regarded as the world’s beacon of freedom and democracy. 

My Lost Iran questions and examines these topics from various perspectives.  Filmmaker Shirin Raban uses her experience as a visual anthropologist and family member of Saeed to capture intimate and revealing moments of family members in private settings. Vivid animations illustrate the most dramatic moments of Saeed’s Journey. Art, music and poetry elements evoke the beautiful hidden world of Persian Jews.

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