They are called the Bassidj, which is an abbreviated translation of the Mobilized Force for the Oppressed. These men are the loyal foot soldiers who will sacrifice their lives to keep the Ayatollahs in power in Iran.
The film shows how the Bassidj are now fighting a moral battle to keep the Islamic State free from Western values.
In 1996, Phil Rees gained unique access to film life in Iran never before seen in the West. 'Guardians of the Ayatollah' reveals the dilemma facing the Islamic Republic. How can it modernize and open to the outside world and still remain faithful to the principles of its founding leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini?
The Daily Telegraph described it as 'An extraordinary film shot in Tehran by Phil Rees'. (28.2.96)
The Times described it as 'a rare and fascinating documentary' (28.2.96). the Sunday Times (25.2.96) wrote that 'Phil Rees' film offers a revealing glimpse inside Iran', which includes the first footage of the Bassidj shot by a Western journalist'.
The Daily Mail: a 'fine documentary' (29.2.96). The Independent (29.2.96) described the film as 'intriguing...fascinating in its revelation of a country simmering beneath a tightly-sealed lid'.
The Independent on Sunday (18.2.96) said the film 'gives a rare insight into everyday life in Iran...a revealing analysis.'
According to Time Out, 'Rees is a brave and committed current affairs filmmaker' who 'reveals a very different picture to the typical Western caricatures'.