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Documentary “A Revolution on Canvas” Premieres on HBO on March 5

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HBO is set to premiere an intriguing new documentary, “A Revolution on Canvas,” on Wednesday, March 5. The film, produced and directed by Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder, delves into the perplexing disappearance of over 100 paintings by Nickzad “Nicky” Nodjoumi, a highly regarded Iranian modern artist.

“A Revolution on Canvas” is a gripping political thriller and intimate portrait documentary that follows Sara Nodjoumi as she embarks on a journey to unravel the mystery surrounding her father’s missing artwork. Throughout the film, viewers are taken on an enthralling exploration of Nicky Nodjoumi’s activism, his complex relationship with Nahid Hagigat (also an artist and Sara’s mother), and the profound impact that his thought-provoking art had on their family’s future.

The story begins in 1980 when Nicky was forced to flee Iran following the Islamic Revolution. His life was endangered due to the controversial nature of his paintings exhibited at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. He sought refuge in New York City, where he joined his wife Nahid and daughter Sara. Despite living in exile, Nicky continued to paint passionately while navigating the ever-changing political landscape.

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Now, four decades later, Sara takes it upon herself to investigate the whereabouts of her father’s lost artwork in Tehran. As she immerses herself deeper into this enigma, she uncovers not only her own family’s emotional saga but also a larger tapestry interwoven with Iran’s socio-political climate at that time.

Nicky Nodjoumi had fervently participated in pro-democracy movements against Iran’s Shah during the 1970s. However, his aspirations for a new Iran were dashed as an authoritarian regime rose to power after the revolution. His once-controversial paintings depicting the new Islamic leadership were swiftly confiscated – rumors swirled that they were either destroyed by radical Islamists or hidden away in the museum’s basement.

In 2022, as protests reignite the streets of Iran, Sara and Nicky reach out to former museum employees with the hope of finding someone on the ground in Tehran who can assist in locating the missing artwork. Their efforts encounter numerous obstacles until an unexpected contact gains access to the unseen basement and archival collection of the museum.

“A Revolution on Canvas” raises thought-provoking questions about religious and political extremism, creative freedom versus activism sacrifices, and the enduring power of art. The film intimately chronicles Sara’s personal journey of self-discovery within her family’s history while paying homage to her parents’ remarkable artistry. It delves into themes of longing, complexity, and exile from one’s ancestral home.

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The documentary weaves together a tapestry of personal archival videos, never-before-seen photos capturing moments from Iran’s revolution, breathtaking artwork by Nicky Nodjoumi and Nahid Hagigat, observational footage documenting Sara’s investigation across multiple countries including France, Turkey, Iran, and the United States. Alongside Sara herself are interviews with celebrated artists such as Shirin Neshat and Mahmoudreza Bahmanpour, as well as art curators like Linda Komaroff and Clare Davies who provide unique perspectives on Iranian art.

HBO Documentary Films presents “A Revolution on Canvas,” a Partner Pictures Production crafted by directors Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder. The documentary promises a gripping narrative full of suspenseful twists that shed light not only on one family’s extraordinary story but also on larger historical events that shaped Iran. Executives Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, and Sara Rodriguez are at the helm for HBO in bringing this compelling tale to audiences worldwide.


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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