For my course on Global Media and Culture this semester, I had considerable difficulty finding subtitled television shows from Egypt, Lebanon, or Iran. I knew about Lebanese-produced Star Academy thanks to Marwan Kraidy who wrote about the show for Media Commons (link), and I even found a wonderful interview of Begum Nawazish Ali, the cross-dressing host of Late Night Show on Pakistan’s Aaj TV, on Al Jazeera (link). But I was forced to cut back on our focus on everyday life in places like Iran and Pakistan and fall back to talking about Orientalism, Hollywood, and so on. And what’s more, with exceptions like Kraidy’s recent work on reality TV and Arab modernity, and Naomi Sakr’s book on satellite TV in the Middle East, there isn’t much work on TV (in sharp contrast to, say, Iranian film).
So I was excited to read about Zero Degree Turn, a superhit Iranian TV drama about the holocaust. And the best part is, there are several subtitled episodes available online! Here’s an excerpt:
Set in wartime Paris, Zero Degree Turn tells the story of a young Iranian man who helps a Jewish family escape occupied France. Hassan Fathi, the writer, says the show is inspired by Abdol Hussein Sardari, an Iranian consulate officer in Paris who issued Iranian passports to more than 1,00o European Jews during WW-II (more here and here).