A Sufi Valentine
a poetry+film performance

Behsno as ney. Listen to the reed. It weaves
A tale of separations. It grieves:

They tore me from the marshland. That's why
My breathy song makes women and men cry.

readings of Rumi, Hafiz and original work by Ali Alizadeh

images by Bill Mousoulis

featuring Natalie Vella, Okan Husnu, Sophie Angelle, Rad Rudd,
Gregory Pakis, Safoura Alizadeh and The Fiery Angels.

2004, 34 mins, video & performance

Available for purchase on DVD

La Mama Theatre

Thursday June 10 - Sunday June 20, 2004

photos from the event

A Sufi Valentine is a unique collaboration between poet Ali Alizadeh and filmmaker Bill Mousoulis.

Sufism is a form of Islamic mysticism made popular through the medium of poetry and song. A Sufi is dedicated to love, and to the task of praising the beloved. Rumi, for example, lost himself in the ecstasy of longing. Hafiz, another important Sufi poet, was intoxicated with the magic of union with the creator by drinking from 'the Cup of the World'.

In A Sufi Valentine, Alizadeh performs English translations of Rumi and Hafiz, as well as his own contemporary Sufi poems. Accompanying the poems, Mousoulis' film follows six characters on their individual journeys of disenchantment, awakening and bliss: a poet and dancer who are struggling with their art, and four lovesick individuals, engulfed in solitude and yearning.

1 - 'Listen to the reed'. By Rumi. Translation by Ali Alizadeh and Penny Pitt.
2 - 'Rumi'. By Ali Alizadeh.
3 - 'Hey morning breeze'. By Hafiz. Translation by Ali Alizadeh. Published in Elixir: a story in poetry. Melbourne: Grendon Press, 2002.
4 - 'Lover's name'. By Ali Alizadeh. Published in Thylazine: Australian Poets for Peace Issue. Thylazine Foundation, 2002.
5 - 'Either I teach you faithfulness'. By Rumi. Translation by Ali Alizadeh and Matt Hetherington.
6 - 'The Ghosts'. By Ali Alizadeh. Published in Elixir: a story in poetry. Melbourne: Grendon Press, 2002.
7 - 'I want your love'. By Rumi. Translated by Ali Alizadeh and Matt Hetherington. Published in Said the Rat! Melbourne: Black Pepper Press, 2003.
8 - 'You're the sentinel'. By Ali Alizadeh.

Photographed and directed by Bill Mousoulis
Sound recordist .. Jason Turley
couple .... Natalie Vella, Rad Rudd
couple .... Okan Husnu, Sophie Angelle
poet ...... Gregory Pakis
dancer .... Safoura Alizadeh
dancers ... The Fiery Angels

Ali Alizadeh is a Melbourne-based writer of poetry, narrative and literary articles. He also performs his own and others' poetry. First book Elixir: a story in poetry was published by Grendon Press in 2002. Plays include Irene's Inquisition (Melbourne Fringe Festival 2001) and Elixir (based on the book; Melbourne Fringe Festival 2003). He has performed his poetry in Australia's premier literary festivals, including Melbourne Writers' Festival (1999, 2000 and 2003) and Brisbane Writers' Festival (1996 and 1997).

He has won a number of awards including the 2003 Hussen Benn Non-Fiction Award, the 2000 Verandah Literary Award, and the 1997 GUGC National Tertiary Art Prize. His current project is La Pucelle: the Epic of Joan of Arc. He was born in Iran and migrated to Australia at 15, has a B.A. with Honours in Creative Arts, and is currently completing a PhD in Professional Writing at Deakin University.

"Sucking in our senses with a compelling simplicity that awes with admiration." - Patrick Mangeni, TEXT.

"Continues the tradition of boundary pushing that is fundamental to Melbourne's literature." - Readings Magazine

Bill Mousoulis is an independent filmmaker based in Melbourne. Since 1982, he has made over 80 films, including 5 low-budget features, the last of which was Lovesick (2002). His work has screened at all the major film festivals in Australia, such as the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane International Film Festivals, as well as at festivals overseas. His half-hour film Between Us (1989) was awarded 4th Best Film at the St.Kilda Film Festival in 1990.

He is the founder of the Melbourne Super 8 Film Group (1985-2001) and the founding editor of the online film journal Senses of Cinema (1999- ) and web designer of the journal Rouge. He is also an occasional critic and programmer (see the upcoming Melbourne Underground Film Festival).

"One of Australia's most committed independent film-makers." - Adrian Martin, The Age.

"An unmistakable visual style." - Andrew Frost, Filmnews.

I escaped from the city
barefooted. I escaped from the fires

naked, except for the bag
of ancient books    
slung over my back.

Angel of Breeze
air's hostess            your lustrous face
stars against the dark cave's backdrop   
Your eyes roar
with tropical might

I want your love to raise me out of life
and from your sea to rise me beyond both worlds.

I need your sun for the rain to come
since you're the one who raises mist up from the sea.

You're the light-switch
    That sheds off the darkness of solitude.

You're the timeless goddess
    That defies the truth of scepticism.


Innersense (Bill Mousoulis) website