Abtin Sarabi

Âhlé Hava - Les habitants du vent - Film - 58min - 2015

présenté dans le cadre de l'exposition Indices d'Orient La mémoire, le témoin et scrutateur


In the coastal regions of southern Iran they have a traditional musical ritual that is many centuries old. Called Zâr, it takes the form of a ceremony that is at once mysterious and magical, and serves to cure anyone who falls victim to the wind.

Âhle Hava, “inhabitant of the wind,” is how local popular belief refers to people suffering from strange illnesses who were cured by the Zâr ceremony. According to this deep-rooted belief, there is a satanic force that is constituted by some 366 winds, one of which circulates and enters into predisposed bodies. These winds are present everywhere. They are capable of doing evil even more than good.

Their incredible power can affect almost any human mind, if they are not met by a force or power capable of resisting them. Human beings remain highly vulnerable, powerless, and their only solution is to submit – to surrender, indeed – to this supreme will.

The sole solution, for the sufferer, is then to take part in the Zâr ceremony, organised by the Mummy or Daddy of Zâr (two shamans). Each wind has its own music and, by means of music and singing, the ceremony will help to detect the wind involved. It will then be possible to carry out its wishes, sometimes going so far as to sacrifice animals, and thus to break its baneful hold on the patient who, once cured, becomes Âhlé Hava.

Abtin Sarabi

Abtin Sarabi was born in 1984 in Tehran. He is a filmmaker, photographer and Visual artist.
From adolescence, Abtin Sarabi developed a photographic style tending more towards that of documentaries and sociology, rather than staged photography. After studying oriental philosophy, painting and photography at the University of Art and Architecture of Tehran, from where he graduated in 2009, Abtin turned to video art and cinema.
During four years’ study at the School of Fine Arts (Beaux-Arts) in Toulouse, France, he directed short films, art videos and several series’ of analog photography. Abtin obtained a Higher National Diploma in Plastic Arts in 2014. He continued his research for two years in Fresnoy, The National Studio of Contemporary Arts in Tourcoing, France, where he obtained his Post (graduate) diploma.
His creations, strongly imbued with pictorial art, are Often akin to “ poetic cinema “, no doubt because of the constant presence of a symbolic dimension and references to mythology.


  • Poupée mécanique, Video art, France, 2 min30, 2010
  • Un autre jour, Short film fiction, France, 1 min, 2011
  • Le retour, Video art, France, 4 min, 2013
  • Illusion verte, Video art, Iran-France, 11 min, 2012
  • Une trop bruyante solitude, Video art, Portugal, 8 min 2013
  • Oasis dans l'instant, Video art, Iran, 7 min, 2014
  • Absolution, Short film fiction, Iran-France, 9min, 2016
  • Ahlé Hava (The People Of The Wind), Documentary, France, 59 min, 2015
  • Si l’homme, A temps, Avait ouvert ses yeux égarée, Video Installation Fiction, France, 35 min, 2016
  • Parcelles S7, Documentary, Sénégal-France-Iran, 28 min, 2020
  • Alzeimer, Video Installation, France-Iran, 20 min, In production
  • Ali-Akbar SADEGHI, Documentary-Fiction, Feature film, Writing the script in progress


Ali Bayani, Mohammad Saybani, Farhad Tohidi, Mina Hedayati, Aghil Dadi Zadeh, Mohammad Porkhoo, Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand, François Bonenfant, Daniel Dobbels, Madeleine Van Doren et toute l'équipe du Fresnoy