'20th Century Women'
Chain-smoking and Birkenstock-wearing 55-year-old Dorothea "comes from the Depression," explains her 15-year-old son Jamie, as though "The Depression" is the planet Jupiter..
Film Review: ‘Aquarius’
Led by a powerful performance from Sônia Braga, Aquarius uses a conflict between a tenant and developers to take an insightful look at the relationship between space and identity..
Factory of Lies (2018)
The False News From Russia
Russia has launched an information war - introducing a new weapon. Hundreds of young Russian are producing fake news from fake profiles. But some brave Russian..
Film Review: ‘Mary Shelley’
“Mary Shelley” is a rarity: a literary biopic with an argument. Which is by no means to say that the film, directed by Haifaa al-Mansour (“Wadjda”) forgoes the expected pleasures of the genre..
The legendary actress leaves our world
Today the legendary Iranian-American actress Vida Ghahremani passed away after battling cancer for many years. She went beyond taboos of her time to have the very first..
A Thousand Times Goodnight: Absorbing fact-based drama
Beautifully filmed and powerfully acted, 1,000 Times Good Night achieves absorbing fact-based drama without overindulging in Hollywood contrivances. Starring Juliette..
Cannes 2018 • Changeless Change • Jean-Luc Godard and Jia Zhangke
“We are never sad enough for the world to be better,” laments a concluding female voice in 'The Image Book.' “Something that burns so..
Sridevi honoured At the Cannes Film Festival 2018
Veteran Bollywood actress Sridevi was honoured with the TITAN Reginald F Lewis Film Icon Award at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival..
CANNES 2018 • Awards
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film has scooped the top prize, while other names on the winners’ list include Europeans Alice Rohrwacher, Marcello Fonte, Pawel Pawlikowski and Jean-Luc Godard..
CANNES 2018 • Un Certain Regard • Awards
CANNES 2018: Victory for the film by Swedish-Iranian director Ali Abbasi. Girl scoops the Award for Best Performance, while Sofia, Donbass and The Dead and the Others are..
Cannes Film Review: ‘Ash Is Purest White’
Jia Zhangke’s gangster epic is a twisting tale of love and survival in 21st-century China. A winding tale of love, disillusionment and survival that again represents his vision of..
Cannes 2018: Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’
It’s a drama that leaves you shaken yet detached, chilled and a little numb. Almost every scene in it has been overly designed to grab your attention..
Cannes Film Review: ‘Bergman — A Year in a Life’
Ingmar Bergman emerges as a compulsive figure with a very grand hunger in a penetrating documentary about his pivotal year of 1957..
CANNES 2018 Competition • 'Summer' (Leto) • Review
CANNES 2018: You'd be right in thinking this was a biopic, but Kirill Serebrennikov's new film – in the running for the Palme d'Or – is above all a ray of light and colour..
Cannes Film Review: Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘The Image Book’
Jean-Luc Godard's new film is a kaleidoscopic bulletin on the state of our world, and the question it asks could apply to itself: Is anyone watching?..
Iran’s Asghar Farhadi • On the push and pull of home
CANNES, France — The Cannes Film Festival opening-night premiere of Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” coincided almost exactly with President Trump’s announced..
Cannes Film Review: ‘Sextape’
Half the conversation in “Sextape” is about blowjobs
Two cads treat their girlfriends like sex toys in a slice of bad behavior that would like to be a vérité youthquake but sticks to the raunchy..
CANNES 2018 • Un Certain Regard • Ali Abbasi • Border
CANNES 2018: Cineuropa talked to Tehran-born director Ali Abbasi about his sophomore effort, Border, based on a short story by John Lindqvist and screening in Un..
Cannes 2018: The directors who are banned from attending the film festival
Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi and Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov – who both have films competing for the Palme d’Or – have..
'Wonder Wheel'
A larger-than-life Kate Winslet

Actress sets the screen on fire in filmmaker's torrid period drama about broken Brooklyn dreamers. Kate Winslet is on fire in Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel..
Through the Black Forest
A Rare Interview With von Trier
Here he looks back at his work, talks about his forthcoming movie, and reveals his idea for a new series of small films. Finally he makes a comment on his controversial statement..
Nasser Cheshmazar
'Rain of Love' creator dies at 68

A prominent Iranian composer who was best known for his memorable album “Rain of Love” and theme music for over 20 movies, died of a heart attack on Friday. He was 68..
The Young Karl Marx
Brainy Content Bracing
The early years of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Jenny Marx, between Paris, Brussells and London. In Paris, Marx struggles, unpaid by Ruge, unable to provide for his wife Jenny..
'Lucky' • Movie Review
Harry Dean Stanton Gets the Goodbye He Deserves

Lucky is a bittersweet meditation on mortality, punctuating the career of beloved character actor Harry Dean Stanton. The late, great..
U – July 22 • Film Review
Norwegian kills for thrills?
Erik Poppe’s hyperrealist one-take dramatisation of Anders Breivik’s summer camp massacre offers little sign of moral perspective..
Interview • Kamyar Mohsenin
The Fajr International Film Festival’s manager of international relations, Kamyar Mohsenin, explains to Cineuropa how the gathering has played a vital role in the development of Iranian cinema..
Inuit drama "Aga"
Crowned best at Fajr Film Fest
Bulgarian director Milko Lazarov’s drama “Ága” about two Inuits that live with the dream of reuniting their family has been picked as best movie at the 36th Fajr International Film..
Interview • Director Sergei Loznitsa on Russia
The acclaimed Ukrainian director discusses his latest drama A Gentle Creature, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and the ‘hell’ of Russian history. “Hell isn’t when horrible things..
Oliver Stone In Iran 2018
For attending Movie Festival
American movie director Oliver Stone was Iran on Monday attending an international film festival. Stone hosted a workshop for filmmakers during the Fajr Film Festival..
Cate Blanchett • To Lead Cannes Film Festival Jury
Chaired by Australian actress Cate Blanchett, the competition jury at the 71st Cannes Film Festival (9-19 May) has now had its line-up unveiled in its entirety..
CANNES 2018 Official Selection
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Yann Gonzalez and Sergey Dvortsevoy are all now in the race for the Palme d’Or. Lars von Trier will feature out of competition, while Terry Gilliam will close the festival..
Lars von Trier
Receives Denmark's Largest Cultural Award

Denmark's largest cultural award of one million kroner, awarded to Danish film director Lars von Trier on Thursday at the University of..
IRAN NOW • A Mini Festival
The Danish Film Institute 2018
IRAN NOW is a mini festival that looks into the situation in Iran right now, as it is expressed artistically, culturally and socially. Through plenty of guests, we explore the..
The Party (2018)
It Knocks The Wind Out of You

Potter's comic dissection of the London intelligentsia's personal and political angst is completely of the moment. Old-fashioned charm meets sharp wit and modern social..
'Umbra' and 'Like a Good Kid'
Two Iranian movies join Cannes competition
Two movies by Iranian filmmakers will be competing in the Cannes Film Festival as the 71st edition of the event will open with..
Peter Bradshaw on the Cannes 2018 lineup
Some mixed signals with the traditional unveiling of the Cannes film festival’s official selection: a very lively and effervescent list, with eight newcomers in competition and..
Cannes Festival To Feature Films By Dissident Iranian, Russian Directors
France's Cannes film festival has made a show of support for dissident directors in Iran and Russia in unveiling its selection of films..
Cannes 2018
Un Certain Regard puts its faith in young talents

The Cannes selection features a strong European presence, six feature debuts, and films by Valeria Golino, Bi Gan, Ali Abbasi..
Jafar Panahi: Cannes 2018
French Authorities To Appeal Iran For Filmmaker’s Fest Presence. Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux said today that the festival will appeal to Iran for the filmmaker’s presence..
Copenhagen to screen
'The Home' (Ev) from Iran

A superbly cinematic chamber piece, 'The Home' (Ev) has been selected for screening at Danish Film Institute during a festival of Iranian films..
Last Men in Aleppo (2017)
Feras Fayyad’s Breathtaking Work
Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature and winner of the Grand Jury documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival..
Doc on Farhadi’s “Salesman”
to premiere in Tehran

A documentary on Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning drama 'The Salesman' is scheduled to premiere in Tehran in the near future. It will be screened at the Art and Experience..
'Everybody Knows' to open the Cannes Film Festival
The film by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi will be screened in competition as the opening movie of the 71st Cannes Film Festival starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin..
Faces Places (2017)
A Visual Ode to Ordinary People

Agnes Varda is almost 90 years old and she is still making fantastic films. Searching, compassionate, provocative, funny, sad ones. This is one of them..
A Fantastic Woman (2018)
The story of Marina who undergoes several misfortunes after losing a loved one. A woman who is not granted the respect a grieving wife or girlfriend would receive. All she wants is be allowed to say goodbye, to grieve publicly..
‘In the Fade’ (2017)
A Tale of Grief and Violence

How should liberal societies deal with homegrown political extremists, who seek protection from the democratic norms and institutions they are committed to destroying?
John Malkovich • Interview
Recently, at the Hotel Caron in Paris, I got up to use the bathroom one night and found myself out in the hallway instead. But that is one of a million: I am a constant source of embarrassment to myself..
'Loveless’ (2017)
Unnerving and Fearless

Loveless is a stunning indictment of complacency, and a reminder of how fast something you love — like our democracy — can suddenly go poof if you look away..
The Big Lebowski
A typical Coen brothers film is like no film you've ever seen. It blows other more recent slacker comedies out the water and proves that Bridges can do any role..
Berlin: Mani Haghighi's "Pig"
Talks Buzzy Black Comedy

Iranian director and actor Mani Haghighi is a Berlinale aficionado. His gender-bender “A Dragon Arrives!” made a splash when it launched from the fest’s competition section..
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Anger is an energy in Martin McDonagh’s brilliant “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ,” one of the best films of the year. A vigilante mother takes matters into her own..
36th Fajr Film Festival
winners honored

The annual Fajr Film Festival (FFF) came to an end on Sunday at Tehran’s Milad Tower after presenting awards to the best of cinematic productions in the past year..
The Glass Castle (2017)
Affecting, Moving and Well acted
A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s..
Lars von Trier receives the biggest award in Denmark
The biggest cultural award in Denmark, the Sonning Prize (Sonningprisen) this year goes to Danish filmmaker and screenwriter Lars von Trier, who was elected by a committee..
Armed With Words & Wings
Michael Strunge became the voice of a new generation and a mirror reflection of their identity and life, while he struggled with anxiety and psychotic attacks that pushed him to commit suicide at the age of 27..
THE INSULT (2017)
Civil War Beirut Style

Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri made headlines recently when authorities in Beirut arrested him at the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport for questioning about..
The Apu Trilogy
Achingly poignant, beautifully shot, and evocatively atmospheric, Satyajit Ray's classic trilogy is a masterpiece no cinephile can afford to miss. "I can never forget the excitement in my mind after seeing it..
Walk With Me (2017)
A thoroughly meditative cinema

One of the most calming documentaries you’re likely to ever see is “Walk with Me,” a documentation of Zen Buddhists and their community of Plum Village in France..
What Will People Say (2017)
TORONTO 2017: Cineuropa spoke with Norwegian director Iram Haq whose latest film 'What Will People Say' had its world-premiering at Toronto. “I used the knowledge I have to tell a story so we can build bridges..
Silence (2016)
A once in a lifetime movie

Is it moral to allow others to suffer when their suffering can be ended with a single symbolic gesture? Would God want that? Maybe the priest is destined to realize that it’s all right..
Sepideh Farsi preparing The Siren
1980, Abadan. The capital of the Iranian oil industry is resisting an Iraqi siege. Omid, a 14-year-old boy, has stayed back in the city, with his grandfather, waiting for his..
Sohrab Shahid Saless
The Experience of Exile

A visionary and truly transnational artist, Shahid Saless remained a solitary figure throughout his life. Still his films have left an indelible mark..
EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS 2017
The Square sweeps the Awards
Ruben Östlund’s film The Square – and more specifically a comedy – has taken home most of the awards from the European Film Awards ceremony..
Sophie's Choice • Review
Streep is memorable as Sophie

So perfectly cast and well-imagined that it just takes over and happens to you. It's quite an experience. 'Sophie’s Choice' begins as a young Southerner's odyssey to..
'Vanaja' • Movie Review
A wondrous piece of filmmaking
A Sensitive, Engaging movie from a first-time filmmaker. Rajnesh Domalpalli made this poignant 2006 drama as his thesis film for a master's degree at Columbia University..
Invasion (2017)
How Thirsty are you?

'Invasion' is Shahram Mokri’s third feature after Fish & Cat. Both pics experiment “with nonlinear narrative, thriller elements and point of view,” as Variety critic wrote in her..
Half Moon | Niwemang
A road movie unlike any other
The Kurds may not yet have a country, but as long as Bahman Ghobadi keeps making movies they have a national cinema. Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon is a beautiful and..
Emma Thompson demands
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is brought home

Actress Emma Thompson has accused Boris Johnson of doing “sweet FA” for the British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran..
Kedi (2017) • Movie review
As soft and warm as a kitten
Kedi is a cat fancier's dream, but this thoughtful, beautifully filmed look at Istanbul's street feline population offers absorbing viewing for filmgoers of any purr-suasion..
'Young Torless' • Cruelty of Man Is Explored
A great psychological and philosophical treatise on how normal, well-to-do people, can turn themselves into "torturers and sacrificial lambs," as Torless himself states..
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Movie Review
With uniformly great performances throughout the cast and Lanthimos’ stunning eye for detail and composition, this is one of the most unforgettable films of the year..
Until the Birds Return (2017)
My characters are at a turning point in their personal lives, yet they are not and do not want to be actors for change. In the 1990s an unprecedented civil war left 200,000 dead in Algeria, and tens of thousands..
The Divine Order (2017)
A hilarious comedy that hides ill-concealed discomfort
Petra Volpe continues to talk to us about women, and does so by turning the spotlight on a somewhat inglorious episode
Iranian filmmaker Cannot attend stokholm film festival
The acclaimed Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been denied exit from Iran and will not be able to attend the Stockholm International Film Festival..
WINDOW HORSES • A Canadian film about Iranian Poetry
A young Canadian poet with Chinese and Persian parents travels to Iran to perform at a poetry festival. Ann Marie Fleming’s..
A Look at “My Brother Khosro”
An intelligent movie dealing with a pain, a pain that without any pessimistic approach is part of a pain of a family, one of whose members has a mental problem..
ON THE BEACH 2017
'This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.' These lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears..
Al Berto: A Biopic about the life of Portuguese poet
Liberty was there for the taking, but people had not been taught to be free and were not sure exactly what to do with it. Al Berto was ready for Sines, but Sines wasn’t..
Houman Seyyedi talks to CWB
I knew Houman Seyyedi as a very talented actor until I learned about him as a film director and then came the big suprise. After watching the four movies that..
Pouran Drakhshandeh talks about Under the Smoky Roof
Last Thursday, was the opening night of 'Under the Smoky Roof', a social drama directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh at the Fine Arts Theater, Los Angeles..
12 European films awarded At The Warsaw Film Fest
The Polish event’s Grand Prix went to the Chinese feature To Kill a Watermelon. Danish film The Charmer by Milad Alami won Competition 1-2 prize..
LOVING VINCENT (2016)
The final mysterious days in the life of Vincent van Gogh are the subject of investigation in this formally daring work, seven years in the making, that marries live action performance to..
Never Let Me Go
With Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek has delivered a graceful adaptation that captures the spirit of the Ishiguro novel -- which will be precisely the problem for some viewers..
Interview • Milad Alami
SAN SEBASTIÁN 2017: Cineuropa chatted to Swedish-Iranian filmmaker Milad Alami, whose feature debut, The Charmer, is currently taking part in New Directors at San Sebastián..
Wild (2014)
Mini-Odyssey of a broken character
'I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.' Powerfully moving and emotionally..
An Iranian film director
On the country's censorship

How does censorship work in Iran? The FRANCE 24 Observers team is publishing a two-part interview about censorship and Iranian cinema..
Mountain | Monte (2016)
Now, at 70 years old, Amir Naderi is a true international filmmaker. After "Mountain" (made in Italy) he is now ready to come home to US and start all over again. "It is just the beginning,"..
10th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco
Welcome to the 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco. This year, the festival presents 40 films from Iran, USA, Italy, France, Canada..
Shirin Neshat • Interview
VENICE 2017

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat remembers an iconic figure from Arab music on the big screen in Looking for Oum Kulthum, a film in competition in the Giornate degli Autori
VENICE 2017 • Interview
Emre Yeksan's The Gulf

“We live in a period of slow decay, and the smell won’t go away any time soon.” Emre Yeksan’s feature debut, The Gulf, has been premiered in the International..
Video Essay Explores
Orson Welles’ ‘F For Fake’

Most cineastes associate Orson Welles with films like “Touch of Evil” and “Citizen Kane.” But his 1974 oddity, is worth seeking out for those who wish to dig..
‘MOTHER! • VENICE 2017
7 Things to Know About

Darren Aronofsky's 'Mother' centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence...
Shirin Neshat • VENICE
'Looking for Oum Kulthum'

“story of an Iranian woman filmmaker, living in exile, who dares to make a film about an iconic Arab singer without being Arabic herself,” Neshat said in her first..
VENICE 2017 • Orizzonti
'Oblivion Verses'

Iranian filmmaker Alireza Khatami is presenting his debut feature Oblivion Verses in Orizzonti at Venice, where Cineuropa spoke to him about fantasy..
VENICE 2017 Competition
'Human Flow'

Artist Ai WeiWei is in the Venice competition with this documentary shot in 2015 and 2016, uncovering the growing crisis of displaced people across the..
Asghar Farhadi begins filming 'Everybody Knows'
The two-time Oscar winner is shooting this European co-production in Spain, with a Spanish-speaking cast headlined by Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz..
The Song Of Scorpions
Anup Singh’s ambitious third feature stars Golshifteh Farahani and Irrfan Khan, following an independent woman as she struggles against hardship and treachery to remain true to her own instincts..
Tokyo Sonata :: Movie Review
An adventurous work both disturbing and ultimately moving. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears..
The Homesman (2014)
A genuine art film
"The Homesman," despite the title, is about women. Women are the center of the action, women drive the action forward, women are not only damsels in..
MONSIEUR IBRAHIM :: Movie Review
Tender but never sappy, Monsieur Ibrahim brings two people of vastly different age and background together in ways that are touching, and telling..
The Innocents (2016)
'The Innocents’ is a profound meditation on a forgotten moment in history. Lou de Laage shines in Anne Fontaine's provocative historical drama. When Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” made its..
VENICE 2017 :: Venice Days
Samira Makhmalbaf named as jury president for Venice Days 2017. The Iranian actress and director will chair the jury made up of 28 young viewers from..
NETWORK (1976)
It's never been more timely
Criticised by some at the time for a certain naivety and lack of subtlety, this remains one of the most devastating condemnations of the media's urge to..
Woody Allen & his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The iconic filmmaker and clarinet player Woody Allen joins the international headliners at the Copenhagen Jazz Fest
Death And The Maiden
A thought-provoking piece
"Death and the Maiden" is said to be based on events in Chile, but it could take place in any of the many countries where rule is by force and intimidation..
'Insyriated'(2017)
Gripping from start to finish

This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale. Hiam Abbass holds together a household under siege in..
Ali & Nino (2016)
A fascinating story of two young people in love who found themselves between East and West cultures during World War I and Civil War when young democratic Azerbaijan Republic got squashed by..
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Venezia's Hidden Treasure

Based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a well-born Venetian beauty who deliberately chose the life of a courtesan because it seemed a better choice than..
The Polygon People
The Documentary
A First look at the ‘most nuked place on Earth’ where Soviet Union detonated 456 bombs over the course of 40 years. A look at the way locals’ lives were..
‘When God Sleeps’ (2017)
winner of the Golden Heynal

The best music documentary film and hence the winner of the Golden Heynal award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival, by the decision of the Jury under the..
Cannes 2017 • Awards
And the winners are...
Ruben Östlund’s The Square wins the Palme d’Or. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury divided its prizes across a generally deserving spread of films..
Retrospective • Dustin Hoffman • The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman turns 80 later this year, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) takes the opportunity to celebrate the work of Dustin Hoffman, on the occasion of..
Mohammad Rasoulof's
Goodbye | Be omide didar
Another superb piece of work produced in Iran. Let's pause for a minute and reflect on just how difficult it is to get these movies made..
A Master's Final Frames
Cannes 2017

Movingly presented at the largest cinema in Cannes, the Iranian auteur Abbas kiarostami's final film may be the most experimental ever shown at the..
Iranian filmmaker wins major prize at Cannes
Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof's bleak drama "A Man of Integrity" won the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes film festival on Saturday..
Kantemir Balagov's 'Closeness' at Cannes
A social realist debut from Kantemir Balagov is an intense film influenced by the Dardenne brothers. For the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes..
Cannes’ FIPRESCI Prize goes to (Beats Per Minute)
The international critics have crowned Robin Campillo’s film BPM (Beats Per Minute); Closeness and The Nothing Factory also awarded..
The award winners of the Cinéfondation unveiled
Student films from Belgium, Iran and France, awarded at the Cinéfondation. The jury of the Cinéfondation, chaired by Cristian Mungiu, has handed prizes..
The Golden Eye goes to 'Faces, Places' at Cannes
The film by Agnès Varda and JR has won the award for the best documentary screened across the various Cannes selections this year..
'They' (2017)
Movie Review • Cannes 2017

A minor-key portrait of an identity crisis. Jane Campion executive produced Iranian-born director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's debut feature..
Susan Sarandon talks film and politics • Cannes 2017
In the run-up to the screening, Sarandon, who was named an ambassador for the beauty brand last year, sat down with WWD to talk film..
Loveless (2017)
Cannes 2017 • Movie Review

Such a haunting experience that it remains absorbing even when it doesn't go anywhere. Russia has always been a cold and dreary place in the cinema of..
Get Out (2017)
With the ambitious and challenging “Get Out,” Jordan Peele reveals that we may someday consider directing the greatest talent of this fascinating actor and writer..
Karim Moussaoui
Interview • Cannes 2017

Cineuropa met up with Karim Moussaoui to discuss his first film 'Until the Birds Return', presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the 70th Cannes Film..
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' (2016)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' is the most accessible movie he has ever made, and it may also be the best. It's Felliniesque and moving..
The Other Side of Hope
Movie review

Five years after Le Havre, Finland’s deadpan morose-romantic master delivers the second part of a prospective ‘dockyard trilogy’ with this..
Lerd (2017) • Cannes
Interview with M. Rassoulof
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rassoulof represents Iran at the Un Certain Regard competition section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival with his latest film ..
Arnaud Desplechin talks about 'Ismael’s Ghosts'
CANNES 2017: French director Arnaud Desplechin talks about Ismael’s Ghosts, which was screened out of competition at the opening of the 70th Cannes Film..
Happy End (2017)
Cannes Film Festival
First Clip from Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Features a Very Unhappy Dinner Party. After all, this is the director behind such films as 'The White Ribbon,' 'Amour..
Vanessa Redgrave Sparks
'The Loves of Isadora'

Karel Reisz' biographical portrait of Isadora Duncan stars Vanessa Redgrave as the famed modern dancer, who gained notoriety for her revolutionary..
Wild Tales (2015)
An inventive Argentinian film
Argentina’s “Wild Tales” comes as such an extraordinary surprise. Perhaps the best multi-story feature this reviewer has ever seen..
Noureddin Zarrinkelk
Life Achievement Award

A tribute to legendary Iranian/American animation director, writer and illustrator. Born on April 10, 1937 in Iran, Zarrinkelk founded the first school of Animation..
"The Idea of a Lake"
By Milagros Mumenthaler
Finding inspiration in the true story of a woman whose father disappeared during the civilian-military dictatorship in Argentina..
Tehran Taboo (2017)
First animation in Critics’ Week

In his animated drama, the German-Iranian filmmaker paints a dark picture of the metropolis, a city of prohibitions..
The Day Will Come
London Film Festival 2016
Based on real stories from a boy home called ‘godhavn’, where lots of boys were victims of violent and sexual abuse and medical experiments...
Respiro (2003)
The Critics' Week Grand Prize Winner at Cannes 2002

A cheerful, life-affirming film, strong in its energy, about vivid characters ; using mental illness as an entertainment..
Southside with You (2016)
Barack and Michelle Obama's First Date
A mostly-true account of the first date between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. A look back on a fateful..
History of the Festival de Cannes
A NEW FESTIVAL IS BORN

The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis..
Hidden Reserves:
Immortality, but at what price?
Vienna in the near future. An insurance company has created a system in which people do not even have a right to..
Slavoj Zizek's
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

You don't have to share Slavoj Zizek's materialist philosophy to find his analyses of culture and movies witty, insightful..
The Birth of a Nation
Biblical passion and Cheesy emotion
Nate Parker’s heartfelt account of Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1830s Virginia, is conventionally paced..
Graduation (2016)
A Study of Grubby Bureaucratic Compromise

Graduation marks yet another well-written and powerfully acted look at morality and societal decay from..
Incendies (2010)
A Powerful, Disturbing film
Adapted from the 2003 play by Wajdi Mouawad, twins Jeanne and Simon leave Canada for the Middle East to fulfill their mother’s final wish..
Spotlight (2015)
The Power Of The Press

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese..
Before the Flood (2016)
An Inconvenient Truth
Here is a heartfelt, decent, educational documentary about the most important issue of our time – climate change – presented by A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio..
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Winner of the Palme d’Or

I, Daniel Blake marks yet another well-told chapter in director Ken Loach's powerfully populist filmography. Returning to filmmaking after saying..
"Razor’s Edge: The Legacy of Iranian Actresses"
A look at the often controversial role of women in Iranian cinema during the secular period from the 1930s to the Islamic Revolution in 1979..
Afghan Film Festival
12-21. April 2017

After much planning and inspirational talk, we can finally unveil a special cultural event on Danish soil: Afghan Film Festival in Copenhagen..
Bahman Ghobadi's
‘Rhino Season’

Produced by Martin Scorsese, this is the first film Ghobadi has made in exile. The work of a great talent marshaling all of his powers as a cinematic storyteller..
Dying for a Song
"Art is education, art is existence, its everything"

A documentary about the musicians being persecuted for raising their voices against political, cultural or religious..
A Simple Plan • Review
A Frozen Setting Frames a Chilling Tale
"You work for the American Dream--you don't steal it." So says a Minnesota family man early in "A Simple Plan," but he is..
Macon Blair’s
'I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore' (2017)

What's delightful about Macon Blair’s movie is how consistently the film challenges our worst assumptions..
Blue Jay (2016)
A trip down memory lane
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past..
Paterson (2016)
'I breathe poetry'

Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this is a tale about a bus driver and poet. The film adds another refreshingly unvarnished entry to..
To Walk Invisible (2016)
A serious Brontë biopic
We finally have a biographic film that feels modern, in that it takes into account all we now know about the lives of the Brontë sisters, and throws away old..
Ixcanul (2016)
Life doesn't regenerate without untameable fury

You can sense the director's respect for his subject in the movie's unhurried dramatic rhythms, its grounding in..
A Man Called Ove • Review
Swedish Oscar nominee for Foreign Language Film for Oscars 2017, tells the familiar story of the curmudgeonly old man whose grumpy life is brightened by forces beyond his control..
Oscars 2017
Foreign language Oscar nominees decry 'climate of fanaticism in US'. The six directors in the running for this year’s foreign language Oscar have issued a joint statement blaming..
Berlinale 2017 • Awards
The 2017 Berlinale awards have just been announced. Ildikó Enyedi’s Hungarian drama 'On Body and Soul' won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday...
A Quiet Passion (2016)
The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist. This poised and painterly rendition of the..
Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann
The clash of personalities
Toni Erdmann pairs carefully constructed, three-dimensional characters in a tenderly funny character study that's both genuinely moving and..
Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals' (2016)
Well-acted and lovely to look at, Nocturnal Animals further underscores writer-director Tom Ford's distinctive visual and narrative skill...
Asghar Farhadi Won’t Attend Oscar Ceremony
The Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose film “The Salesman” is nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign-language film category decided to not attend..
Barry Jenkins’ masterful “Moonlight”
'Moonlight' uses one man's story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema...
Film Review: Pablo Larraín's Neruda (2016)
"Inventive, intelligent, and beautifully filmed, Neruda transcends the traditional biopic structure to look at the meaning beyond the details of its subject's life."..
Iranian actress to boycott Oscars
The lead actor in an Iranian drama nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign language film category has said she will boycott this year’s ceremony..
Oscar nominations to: Land of Mine and Silent Nights
Martin Zandvliet's "Land of Mine" and Aske Bang's "Silent Nights" will be taking part in the world's most prestigious film event, selected as nominees in..
Pouran Drakhshandeh talks about Under the Smoky Roof
Last Thursday, was the opening night of 'Under the Smoky Roof', a social drama directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh at the Fine Arts Theater, Los Angeles. We had the opportunity to interview the director after the screening..
12 European films awarded At The Warsaw Film Fest
The Polish event’s Grand Prix went to the Chinese feature To Kill a Watermelon. Danish film The Charmer by Milad Alami won Competition 1-2 prize..
LOVING VINCENT (2016)
The final mysterious days in the life of Vincent van Gogh are the subject of investigation in this formally daring work, seven years in the making, that marries live action performance to..
Never Let Me Go
With Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek has delivered a graceful adaptation that captures the spirit of the Ishiguro novel -- which will be precisely the problem for some viewers..
Interview • Milad Alami
SAN SEBASTIÁN 2017: Cineuropa chatted to Swedish-Iranian filmmaker Milad Alami, whose feature debut, The Charmer, is currently taking part in New Directors at San Sebastián..
Wild (2014)
Mini-Odyssey of a broken character
'I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.' Powerfully moving and emotionally..
An Iranian film director
On the country's censorship

How does censorship work in Iran? The FRANCE 24 Observers team is publishing a two-part interview about censorship and Iranian cinema..
Mountain | Monte (2016)
Now, at 70 years old, Amir Naderi is a true international filmmaker. After "Mountain" (made in Italy) he is now ready to come home to US and start all over again. "It is just the beginning,"..
10th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco
Welcome to the 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco. This year, the festival presents 40 films from Iran, USA, Italy, France, Canada..
Shirin Neshat • Interview
VENICE 2017

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat remembers an iconic figure from Arab music on the big screen in Looking for Oum Kulthum, a film in competition in the Giornate degli Autori
VENICE 2017 • Interview
Emre Yeksan's The Gulf

“We live in a period of slow decay, and the smell won’t go away any time soon.” Emre Yeksan’s feature debut, The Gulf, has been premiered in the International..
Video Essay Explores
Orson Welles’ ‘F For Fake’

Most cineastes associate Orson Welles with films like “Touch of Evil” and “Citizen Kane.” But his 1974 oddity, is worth seeking out for those who wish to dig..
‘MOTHER! • VENICE 2017
7 Things to Know About

Darren Aronofsky's 'Mother' centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence...
Shirin Neshat • VENICE
'Looking for Oum Kulthum'

“story of an Iranian woman filmmaker, living in exile, who dares to make a film about an iconic Arab singer without being Arabic herself,” Neshat said in her first..
VENICE 2017 • Orizzonti
'Oblivion Verses'

Iranian filmmaker Alireza Khatami is presenting his debut feature Oblivion Verses in Orizzonti at Venice, where Cineuropa spoke to him about fantasy..
VENICE 2017 Competition
'Human Flow'

Artist Ai WeiWei is in the Venice competition with this documentary shot in 2015 and 2016, uncovering the growing crisis of displaced people across the..
Asghar Farhadi begins filming 'Everybody Knows'
The two-time Oscar winner is shooting this European co-production in Spain, with a Spanish-speaking cast headlined by Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz..
The Song Of Scorpions
Anup Singh’s ambitious third feature stars Golshifteh Farahani and Irrfan Khan, following an independent woman as she struggles against hardship and treachery to remain true to her own instincts..
Tokyo Sonata :: Movie Review
An adventurous work both disturbing and ultimately moving. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears..
The Homesman (2014)
A genuine art film
"The Homesman," despite the title, is about women. Women are the center of the action, women drive the action forward, women are not only damsels in..
MONSIEUR IBRAHIM :: Movie Review
Tender but never sappy, Monsieur Ibrahim brings two people of vastly different age and background together in ways that are touching, and telling..
The Innocents (2016)
'The Innocents’ is a profound meditation on a forgotten moment in history. Lou de Laage shines in Anne Fontaine's provocative historical drama. When Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” made its..
VENICE 2017 :: Venice Days
Samira Makhmalbaf named as jury president for Venice Days 2017. The Iranian actress and director will chair the jury made up of 28 young viewers from..
NETWORK (1976)
It's never been more timely
Criticised by some at the time for a certain naivety and lack of subtlety, this remains one of the most devastating condemnations of the media's urge to..
Woody Allen & his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The iconic filmmaker and clarinet player Woody Allen joins the international headliners at the Copenhagen Jazz Fest
Death And The Maiden
A thought-provoking piece
"Death and the Maiden" is said to be based on events in Chile, but it could take place in any of the many countries where rule is by force and intimidation..
'Insyriated'(2017)
Gripping from start to finish

This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale. Hiam Abbass holds together a household under siege in..
Ali & Nino (2016)
A fascinating story of two young people in love who found themselves between East and West cultures during World War I and Civil War when young democratic Azerbaijan Republic got squashed by..
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Venezia's Hidden Treasure

Based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a well-born Venetian beauty who deliberately chose the life of a courtesan because it seemed a better choice than..
The Polygon People
The Documentary
A First look at the ‘most nuked place on Earth’ where Soviet Union detonated 456 bombs over the course of 40 years. A look at the way locals’ lives were..
‘When God Sleeps’ (2017)
winner of the Golden Heynal

The best music documentary film and hence the winner of the Golden Heynal award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival, by the decision of the Jury under the..
Cannes 2017 • Awards
And the winners are...
Ruben Östlund’s The Square wins the Palme d’Or. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury divided its prizes across a generally deserving spread of films..
Retrospective • Dustin Hoffman • The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman turns 80 later this year, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) takes the opportunity to celebrate the work of Dustin Hoffman, on the occasion of..
Mohammad Rasoulof's
Goodbye | Be omide didar
Another superb piece of work produced in Iran. Let's pause for a minute and reflect on just how difficult it is to get these movies made..
A Master's Final Frames
Cannes 2017

Movingly presented at the largest cinema in Cannes, the Iranian auteur Abbas kiarostami's final film may be the most experimental ever shown at the..
Iranian filmmaker wins major prize at Cannes
Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof's bleak drama "A Man of Integrity" won the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes film festival on Saturday..
Kantemir Balagov's 'Closeness' at Cannes
A social realist debut from Kantemir Balagov is an intense film influenced by the Dardenne brothers. For the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes..
Cannes’ FIPRESCI Prize goes to (Beats Per Minute)
The international critics have crowned Robin Campillo’s film BPM (Beats Per Minute); Closeness and The Nothing Factory also awarded..
The award winners of the Cinéfondation unveiled
Student films from Belgium, Iran and France, awarded at the Cinéfondation. The jury of the Cinéfondation, chaired by Cristian Mungiu, has handed prizes..
The Golden Eye goes to 'Faces, Places' at Cannes
The film by Agnès Varda and JR has won the award for the best documentary screened across the various Cannes selections this year..
'They' (2017)
Movie Review • Cannes 2017

A minor-key portrait of an identity crisis. Jane Campion executive produced Iranian-born director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's debut feature..
Susan Sarandon talks film and politics • Cannes 2017
In the run-up to the screening, Sarandon, who was named an ambassador for the beauty brand last year, sat down with WWD to talk film..
Loveless (2017)
Cannes 2017 • Movie Review

Such a haunting experience that it remains absorbing even when it doesn't go anywhere. Russia has always been a cold and dreary place in the cinema of..
Get Out (2017)
With the ambitious and challenging “Get Out,” Jordan Peele reveals that we may someday consider directing the greatest talent of this fascinating actor and writer..
Karim Moussaoui
Interview • Cannes 2017

Cineuropa met up with Karim Moussaoui to discuss his first film 'Until the Birds Return', presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the 70th Cannes Film..
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' (2016)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' is the most accessible movie he has ever made, and it may also be the best. It's Felliniesque and moving..
The Other Side of Hope
Movie review

Five years after Le Havre, Finland’s deadpan morose-romantic master delivers the second part of a prospective ‘dockyard trilogy’ with this..
Lerd (2017) • Cannes
Interview with M. Rassoulof
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rassoulof represents Iran at the Un Certain Regard competition section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival with his latest film ..
Arnaud Desplechin talks about 'Ismael’s Ghosts'
CANNES 2017: French director Arnaud Desplechin talks about Ismael’s Ghosts, which was screened out of competition at the opening of the 70th Cannes Film..
Happy End (2017)
Cannes Film Festival
First Clip from Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Features a Very Unhappy Dinner Party. After all, this is the director behind such films as 'The White Ribbon,' 'Amour..
Vanessa Redgrave Sparks
'The Loves of Isadora'

Karel Reisz' biographical portrait of Isadora Duncan stars Vanessa Redgrave as the famed modern dancer, who gained notoriety for her revolutionary..
Wild Tales (2015)
An inventive Argentinian film
Argentina’s “Wild Tales” comes as such an extraordinary surprise. Perhaps the best multi-story feature this reviewer has ever seen..
Noureddin Zarrinkelk
Life Achievement Award

A tribute to legendary Iranian/American animation director, writer and illustrator. Born on April 10, 1937 in Iran, Zarrinkelk founded the first school of Animation..
"The Idea of a Lake"
By Milagros Mumenthaler
Finding inspiration in the true story of a woman whose father disappeared during the civilian-military dictatorship in Argentina..
Tehran Taboo (2017)
First animation in Critics’ Week

In his animated drama, the German-Iranian filmmaker paints a dark picture of the metropolis, a city of prohibitions..
The Day Will Come
London Film Festival 2016
Based on real stories from a boy home called ‘godhavn’, where lots of boys were victims of violent and sexual abuse and medical experiments...
Respiro (2003)
The Critics' Week Grand Prize Winner at Cannes 2002

A cheerful, life-affirming film, strong in its energy, about vivid characters ; using mental illness as an entertainment..
Southside with You (2016)
Barack and Michelle Obama's First Date
A mostly-true account of the first date between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. A look back on a fateful..
History of the Festival de Cannes
A NEW FESTIVAL IS BORN

The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis..
Hidden Reserves:
Immortality, but at what price?
Vienna in the near future. An insurance company has created a system in which people do not even have a right to..
Slavoj Zizek's
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

You don't have to share Slavoj Zizek's materialist philosophy to find his analyses of culture and movies witty, insightful..
The Birth of a Nation
Biblical passion and Cheesy emotion
Nate Parker’s heartfelt account of Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1830s Virginia, is conventionally paced..
Graduation (2016)
A Study of Grubby Bureaucratic Compromise

Graduation marks yet another well-written and powerfully acted look at morality and societal decay from..
Welcome to Online Film Home! The place for all film lovers.
Vossoughi, Behrouz

Vossoughi, Behrouz

Birth name
Khalil Vossoughi
Date of Birth
     1937, Khoy, West Azarbaijan, Iran

Behrouz Vossoughi (1937, Khoy, West Azarbaijan, Iran)

Behrouz Vossoughi, born as Khalil Vossoughi 1937 in Khoy, West Azarbaijan, Iran, is an Iranian actor.

He started acting in films with Samuel Khachikian's Toofan dar shahr-e ma. He has over 40 years of experience in the motion picture industry, with featured appearances in more than 90 films.

His work has earned him recognition at several international film festivals. Vossoughi has also worked in television, radio, and theater.

YEARS GRAND prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the prestigious Akira Kurosawa lifetime achievement award, was slated to go to Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami and it nearly did.

But on being handed the trophy, the renowned director graciously announced he was accepting it instead on behalf of an exiled Iranian actor seated in the audience, Behrouz Vossoughi.

The explosion of applause from the largely Iranian audience masked the consternation that must have struck everyone else.

Abbas Kiarostami, universally acknowledged as one of the worlds best filmmakers, is also among the first of a growing number of Iranian directors whose international acclaim has brought attention to Iran as one of the more fertile grounds for filmmaking anywhere. No one disputes his importance.
 
 But who is Behrouz Vossoughi?

Amid the applause, a handsome, dark-haired man, 50ish, in a black jacket and red tie, ascended the stage and approached the podium as Kiarostamis interpreter explained to the Farsi-impaired: This is an award for all the years hes worked in the cinema in Iran, and all the years hes awaited work here in this country. And I look forward to his return to the cinema.

The name may be unfamiliar to the rest of us, but Behrouz Vossoughi is synonymous with cinema and stardom to Iranians the world over.



More than a celebrated actor, this years S.F. International Film Festival Unvanquished honoree was one of prerevolutionary Irans biggest pop icons, a box-office Bruce Willis with the acting chops of a De Niro or Brando.

Hed already set the standard for tough-guy roles before becoming central to the Iranian neorealist new wave of the 70s.

Paired for a time, on-screen and in real life, with Googoosh the glamorous Iranian diva whose recent stadium-filling tour of the United States marked a return from 22 years of government-enforced seclusion Behrouz Vossoughi represented all the sophistication, style, and success of modern, urban Iran.

He was gossiped about in the papers and invited to parties at the Royal Court. The nation got to know him on a first-name basis. Even his hairstyle in Ghaisar the pivotal Iranian new wave film set a national trend, compelling Irans barbers to advertise a Ghaisari for any man who wanted one. You could not get bigger than Behrouz.



 That was before he came to the United States. Arriving in 1978 as a visitor, shortly before the Iranian Revolution toppled the Pahlavi monarchy and led to Ayatollah Khomeinis Islamic Republic, Vossoughi ended up joining an unparalleled wave of immigration to the United States from Iran.

As the new regime came to power, it became clear to Vossoughi that he would be blacklisted if he returned to his country. He found himself indefinitely stranded in Los Angeles, relegated to an inconstant series of television bit parts and stereotyped roles in B movies.

1991s video-store vehicle, Terror in Beverly Hills, may have been the nadir of a difficult career in the United States: Vossoughi played the dreaded Middle Eastern terrorist who, in this case, kidnaps the presidents daughter.

His life has since followed the trajectory of the larger group of migrs seeking refuge in the United States, among Americans who, for years, were too ready to equate all Iranians with the demonized government they were fleeing.

Trapped within and between the politics of two nations, Behrouz Vossoughi has been living a double exile not just from his homeland, but from the cinema.

 New wave, Iranian style

One hundred and eighty of Irans 400 movie houses were burned down between 1978 and 1979, the years Vossoughi began his stay in the United States, but it wasnt the first or only time film has come under fire there.

You could say Iran has always been ambivalent toward its cinema, which has been alternately beloved and reviled by the government and its opponents alike. A shah of the Qajar dynasty introduced film to Iran in 1900. But technical and economic limitations hindered the growth of a national film industry until the 1930s.

Cinema also carried the taint of Western cultural influence, a sore point for many Iranian nationalists. Muslim religious leaders labeled the early films and theaters immoral. Mobs, goaded by religious disapproval, attacked the first movie houses.

As mass opposition to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi mounted in the late 1970s, crowds of demonstrators again torched movie theaters, along with banks and liquor stores, as symbols of Western-backed oppression.

 But film was incredibly attractive to a state bent on modernization and control. It had the potential to reach the majority of a disparate and largely illiterate population.

In the years after World War II, with the support of both the Iranian and American governments, entrepreneurs gradually made movies the entertainment of the masses.

Later, under the Ministry of Culture and Art, the Iranian state cultivated avant-garde film as part of a bourgeois cultural policy meant to bolster the governments prestige abroad and thereby maintain its authority at home.

It was in both the film of mass entertainment and this new art-house cinema that Behrouz Vossoughi made his name.

 Vossoughi, the oldest of five sons, was born in a small Azerbaijani town in 1938 but raised in Tehran. As he described it to me in an interview near his home in Sausalito, his early attraction to acting made the decision to become an actor a simple one.

Telling his parents was another matter. His father, like other very religious men in 1950s Iran, did not go to the cinema.

So Vossoughi kept his career a secret for as long as possible. When his father heard his sons name mentioned among the cast of a radio drama, he lied. I tried to explain to him, there are a lot of Behrouz Vossoughis.

 Vossoughi got work dubbing films (a big business, since, owing to technical limitations, all Iranian films were dubbed). The job required carefully watching the same sequence over and over, and Vossoughi found it good training. He landed his first film role with The Hundred-Kilo Groom (1961), and was an immediate hit.

As a darkly romantic leading man, he made a series of adventure films and romances before the end of the decade, winning his fathers approval along the way, and became so big a star that Tehrans producers colluded to cap his salary. Vossoughi felt limited, however, and by more than the opposition of the producers. It was not just a question of money.

Irans popular cinema made mostly singing and dancing entertainments, crude comedies, and treacly romances designed for mass consumption by the new urban working class. To Vossoughi, such roles no longer presented any challenge and seemed a dead end.

I wanted to have a revolution in my career; I didnt want the same career that everybody had in the cinema in Iran.

 His revolution came in 1969 with Ghaisar (Caesar), a film independently produced by Vossoughi and writer-director Masoud Kimiai, later a prominent new wave filmmaker.

Based on actual Tehran police reports passed to Kimiai by a cousin in the force, the film concerned a Tehrani jahel (tough guy) who avenges the deaths of his sister and brother at the hands of a local crime ring.

The revenge plot may not have been new, but the realistic setting in Tehrans poorest neighborhoods, together with a tragic ending for the hero, helped make Ghaisar a bold departure from the typical formula. When [Kimiai] told me the story of Ghaisar, I saw something different, Vossoughi remembers. And I was right; I was really right.

 Ghaisar ended up being one of two films that inaugurated the Iranian new wave in 1969. The other was Gav (The Cow), by Dariush Mehrjui, about a peasant driven mad by the death of his only cow.

Drawing on techniques and themes of the French new wave and Italian neorealism, Ghaisar and Gav debuted a gritty realism that took as its subject ordinary, often desperate people suffering tragic ends in a corrupt world.

The political implications were clear. Ghaisar, which also drew inspiration from the American western, resurrected vigilante justice in the face of an ineffectual police and court system.

Gavs depiction of the futility of rural life belied the propaganda for the shahs agrarian reform policy and earned the film a government ban although, in a pattern that would be repeated under the Islamic Republic, Gavs critical success in Europe and the United States eventually convinced the authorities to allow it to be shown conditionally in Iran.

Sleek and sexy Ghaisar, meanwhile, was an unprecedented financial success at home, without the intervention of the foreign press. After a brief shelving and reediting by the censors for excessive violence, it became one of the highest-grossing films domestically in Iranian cinema history, and a new cinema was born.

Many among the new generation of filmmakers it gave rise to are making films today, including Kimiai, Mehrjui, Perviz Kimiavi, Bahman Farmanara, Bahram Beizai, and Kiarostami (who, nine years after designing the title sequences for Ghaisar, made his first feature film, Gozaresh, or The Report, in 1978).

 Irans new art cinema came to represent part of the larger culture of opposition to the Pahlavi regime. It channeled the pessimism of a new generation of artists and intellectuals chafing under a corrupt political order. Its critical success expanded the audience for Iranian film at home by wooing the Westernized, educated middle classes who had formerly ignored the national cinema in favor of European and American movies. And Behrouz Vossoughi, an innovative actor with box-office draw, contributed significantly to the bridging of this gap between popular and elite cultures.

The politics of abstraction

Vossoughi would continue to make popular films, but he was now also the darling of the new wave directors. This was a unique achievement, according to Jamsheed Akrami, whose documentary on Iranian cinema, Friendly Persuasion, is currently making the rounds at film festivals. He had the dual distinction of being a bankable star for commercial projects and a very capable and versatile actor for the new wave films, Akrami says. Behrouz would not shy away from taking chances in new wave films. He would alter his physique, wear heavy makeup, or even use [i.e., dub] his own voice in these films.

Vossoughi pushed himself to embody the most complex and disparate of characters, often spending months developing a role. In his own brand of method acting, the self-taught Vossoughi slept in a mental hospital for the character of Majid, the mentally handicapped protagonist of Sooteh Delan (Broken Hearts). His performance in Gavaznha (The Deer), perhaps his finest, came from research he did in disguise among drug addicts in the mean streets of South Tehran. From the beginning, I really wanted to be different, Vossoughi says. And I really wanted to challenge myself in creating a character. Gavaznha and Sooteh Delan, he adds, were written with him in mind. They would say, Behrouz, weve been working on this script for two years for you and just you if you dont play the part, we are not going to do this movie.



Ghaisars unqualified success meant Vossoughi was now powerful enough to dictate terms to the film producers and cinema owners. Now they came to me asking, What do you want? It was a very good question. But if he had his way with the producers, the government was another story.

Although treated publicly as a national treasure and wined and dined by the royals, behind the scenes his films, and others of the new wave, were frequently censored by the shahs Ministry of Arts and Culture. There was a special section of the Ministry of Culture, 12 people who would sit down and read the story and then stamp every page, which meant that nothing could be added or subtracted from the page. And when a movie was finished they watched it to see that it matched every page of the script.

 The censors, a blunt lot, were frequently gotten around. For example, Tangsir (1973), directed by Amir Naderi and starring Vossoughi, had a strongly antiauthoritarian theme. In this story of a popular uprising in the southern region of Tangestan, the villains include an exploitative merchant class backed by the police and religious authorities. The implication that a mullah could be corrupt was unheard of. But because it was based on a true story, which had been the subject of a popular book by Sadeq Chubak, and set 60 years in the past, it eluded the crude radar of the censors.
Gavaznha, released in 1975, was less fortunate, inviting the governments unwelcome scrutiny.

The last film Vossoughi made with Kimiai, it featured a sympathetic portrayal of a young communist militant named Ghodrat who hides out with an old friend, Sayyed (Vossoughi), a former idealist turned drug addict, until they are surrounded and crushed by the overwhelming forces of the states police. After it was featured in Tehrans third international film festival, where Vossoughi walked off with another award for best actor, the government ordered the picture closed. In the end, several minutes of offending scenes were excised, the ending was changed, and Gavaznha was rereleased. But the films antigovernment bias remained so overt that SAVAK, the shahs notorious secret police, interrogated and threatened Vossoughi, leaving him with no doubt as to their attitude toward roles like the one he had taken in Gavaznha. After that, every time I went out I was looking over my back, he says. For six months I was like that. It was a nightmare. I hired a bodyguard to follow me wherever I went.



Pressure from the regime plagued the new wave filmmakers as a whole. Iranian art film, then and today, has had to be subsidized by the state, but with that relationship has come the intrusion of state policy into the filmmaking process. As censorship continued to dog new wave filmmakers, content became more abstract. Criticism had to be made indirectly through symbolism and metaphor (much as in Iranian cinema today). This abstraction led some filmmakers to increasing cinematic complexity on the order of a Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and others toward a seemingly naive style of storytelling, as in many of todays child-centered Iranian films. On the whole, abstraction made the new wave films less accessible to the mass of moviegoers (one thing that Iranian cinema today doesnt have to worry about as much, since government censorship essentially eliminates all foreign competition). By the end of the 1970s, new wave filmmakers were facing the erosion not only of their audience, but also of their financial base, as the government directed its funding increasingly toward television and educational films rather than features.

 But the rejection of these films in Iran was no passive affair: one of the pivotal events in the escalation of unrest in 1978 was a lethal fire set at a movie house in Abadan. The government blamed the torching of the Cinema Rex, in which more than 400 theatergoers died, on Islamic militants. But many thought the timing and location of the attack did not fit the usual pattern of protest. The theater itself was situated in a poor neighborhood, and the fire coincided with the screening of the well-known antigovernment film Gavaznha, starring Behrouz Vossoughi. The fire was therefore widely believed to have been the work of SAVAK, and it sparked waves of protest around the country, ultimately feeding the mass uprising that was Irans revolution before it consolidated under the Islamic right. Shortly after Abadan, all film production in Iran ceased. The Iranian new wave was over.

Of hostages and B movies

By 1980, Iran was no longer an obscure or exotic place to Americans. News coverage of events in and around Iran in 1978 and 1979 made Americans more aware of the country than ever before. Stories of mass demonstrations and riots highlighted the erosion of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavis power.



The shah himself who had been an ally of the United States government ever since the CIA put him squarely on the throne back in 1953 made headlines as the subject of the Carter administrations new emphasis on human rights abuses worldwide.

He was finally forced to flee Iran in January 1979; he sought asylum in the United States but was denied. The following month, after revolutionary militants briefly captured the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the State Department evacuated the families of embassy personnel and urged all U.S. citizens in Iran to leave.

In October the shah, dying of cancer, was granted entry to the United States for medical treatment, triggering angry demonstrations from tens of thousands of Iranian students residing at American universities.

 But public perception changed most dramatically after a crowd of 3,000 stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979. In the end, 52 Americans were held for a total of 444 days. Carter, whose presidency would go down with the botched rescue mission he authorized in April 1980, eschewed election-year campaigning, sequestering himself in the White House to devote full attention to the crisis.

Meanwhile, the public responded with a mixture of bewilderment and outrage. Simultaneously, the political turmoil in Iran spurred an unprecedented wave of immigration to the United States, which attracted nearly half of those fleeing Iran.

Of those who came, about half would settle in California, with the vast majority in Los Angeles. In that exodus, lives of consequence and accomplishment were often traded for ones of obscurity, anonymity, and, in the atmosphere generated by the hostage crisis, often fear and alienation as well.

Vossoughi was already in Los Angeles in 1978, working on an independently produced thriller called Cat in the Cage. At the time, the political disturbances in Iran had not much concerned him. I saw they were banning theater and things like that, he says. But like many other Iranians who came over around that time, Vossoughi assumed that any day he would be free to return. I didnt see that I was guilty of anything.



I thought that if anything happened, I could still come back and work. I am an actor. But he was far too famous. Newspapers in Tehran printed his picture with the shah and the queen. In the early months of 1979, his mother warned him not to return until things cooled off. This never happened. After six or eight months, I heard that all my colleagues over there were not being allowed to make movies.

Khomeinis government banned nearly all prerevolutionary Iranian and foreign cinema. Banned, too, were all actors and entertainers whose work was deemed inappropriate or who were too reminiscent of the old regime.

The blacklist would certainly extend to Vossoughi. His very popularity now made it impossible for him to return to Iran, at least as an actor. In the meantime he had a part as an Egyptian architect in Franklin J. Schaffners Sphinx, released in 1981 on the heels of the Indiana Jones craze. Though a box-office bust, Sphinx was the work of a major director and featured top Hollywood talent (Frank Langella, Lesley-Anne Down, John Gielgud). For Vossoughi, the part suggested better things to come.

If he were temporarily stranded in the United States, at least there might be good work ahead. He had, after all, a distinct advantage over other Iranian actors in exile: he came with formidable experience. Before arriving here, he had participated in two joint projects between American and Iranian film producers, both in English, that were attempts by the Iranian film industry to penetrate the Western market.

The second of these, Caravans (1978), filmed in Egypt, starred Anthony Quinn. It was Vossoughis work in Caravans that had attracted Schaffners attention. The stint in Hollywood should have put Vossoughi in an enviable position. He enrolled in a class to bolster his English, joined the Screen Actors Guild, and found representation through the William Morris Agency.

 But global events would get in the way. Though unofficial, censorship in the United States was no less real than at home for Iranian actors on the wrong side of the politics of the day. Vossoughi remembers it as a very hot time. Popular demonstrations against Iran were a common feature on the news.



Reports of vigilantism directed against Iranians and Iranian Americans were not unusual. The Iranian flag was being burned across the United States. Many Iranians lost their jobs, and many Iranian families received threats. Finding work as an Iranian actor would now prove almost impossible. Vossoughi remembers auditioning in 1980 for a role in The Black Stallion Returns, a sequel to the 1979 hit, and getting as far as a meeting with the executive producer, Francis Ford Coppola.

My agent told me that he was sure I had the part. On the last day there were only three of us left after the 150 whod originally auditioned. Then Francis Coppola came and said he had seen my rsum and that my last movie was with Anthony Quinn. Eventually he asked me where I was from. I said Iran. So he said, Thank you for coming. My agent called me later, asking why I had done this to him. Did I know how much money he had lost? I didnt understand.

His agent wanted to know why Vossoughi had not told Coppola he was Turkish or Greek. While the idea struck Vossoughi as absurd, his identity had become a serious liability. Because of the hostages in Iran, Coppola had called my agent and said I was very good, a very fine actor, but that they could not get involved with the politics right now. According to Vossoughi, this situation repeated itself many times.

Coppolas response may have been surprising, from an outspokenly political director, but it was not atypical. (His office told the Bay Guardian he could not possibly be expected to remember details of a casting decision almost 20 years old). As film scholar Hamid Naficy confirms, The [negative] stereotype of Iranians, especially because of the hostage crisis, was really very deep-rooted. In certain parts of society you wouldnt have known that such hostility existed, but in others, especially in the entertainment field, it was quite vast.

 For Vossoughi, work dried up for the next four or five years. In the United States he was bizarrely associated with the new Khomeini regime that was banning his work, and in Iran with its political opposite, the toppled shahs regime, whose censure hed already suffered. He had no place to go.

I was so mad. Everywhere I went theyd say, Where are you from? and I would say Iran. Period. I lost many parts. He managed only a small role in a horror flick, Time Walker (1982), until the mid 1980s when, thanks to a contact in television (Iranian-born director Reza Badi), Vossoughi began to find work in TV, on shows including Falcon Crest and T.J. Hooker.

But even so positioned to enter the mainstream, Vossoughi found that parts for Iranians and other Middle Easterners were mostly limited to stereotypes, especially that of the Middle Eastern fanatic. Thats the irony of it all, Naficy says, the way these stars in some ways were pushed into playing stereotypes of their own country, which they probably didnt agree with. And so they ended up reproducing sometimes the typical stereotypes.

Vossoughi himself played some of these parts in Veiled Threat (1989) and Terror in Beverly Hills (1991), low-budget action films that traded on the now iconic image of the Middle Eastern terrorist. Terror cast him as a Palestinian ex-CIA informant and hostage-taker. A vehicle for Sly Stallones no-talent sibling, Frank, it was a film Vossoughi now deeply regrets making.

But options were limited, and not just for actors. Unemployment among Iranian immigrants was very high in the first half of the 1980s over 20 percent for men owing largely to the atmosphere generated by the hostage crisis. Faced with public prejudice not seen since the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Vossoughi found himself shut out of an industry for which he was eminently qualified and in which, had circumstances been different, he would almost certainly have found work.



 The comeback

One of the many ironies in the history of Iranian film, which celebrated its centennial last year, is that the Islamic Republic has made the formerly sinful medium respectable for devout Muslims. The Islamic state has a monopoly on film production and distribution. All film stock is owned by the government, and a five-step review process gives the final say not only on the content of a film but, through a three-tiered quality-rating system, also on how well it will do at the box office.

Religious people who shunned the cinema before are now attending films regularly. Theyre even allowing their children to become actors and filmmakers. There was an association before the revolution regarding popular cinema and moral corruption, Naficy notes. That sort of association has been severed. This sanitizing of cinema by Irans theocracy has also meant that women, under the chador, have been more prevalent in filmmaking than ever before.

Even more surprisingly, this postrevolutionary cinema has actually done a much better job of reaching an international audience. Despite its sophistication, the Iranian new wave never achieved the kind of international recognition its successor has. It was Irans infamous presence in the news after 1979 that has actually helped pave the way for the success of its postrevolutionary cinema, documentarian Akrami says. When the films started appearing in festival scenes, Iran was already a major newsmaker, whether it was because of the revolution, the hostage taking, the war, or a host of incessant domestic conflicts. There was a great deal of curiosity about Iran and Iranians in the rest of the world.

By the early 1990s, audiences fascinated by this enigmatic nation discovered the appeal of new Iranian films Dariush Mehrjuiss Hamoon, Bahram Beizais Bashu, Kiarostamis Close Up which defined Iranian realities in very different terms than Americans had come to expect.

Cineastes at Cannes, the Toronto International Film Festival, and Lincoln Center declared the films original and vibrant examples of a new Iranian cinema. While the Iranian new wave films before the revolution possessed the same qualities, Akrami says, they were lacking the political context that helped provide exposure for the postrevolutionary films. It must have been a bitter irony to Vossoughi that many of the directors he had worked with, then little-known internationally, were achieving worldwide recognition while he struggled to practice his craft here in the United States.

 Still, like the larger diaspora to which he belongs, Vossoughi has found his situation steadily improving. One of the more dramatic improvements has been relocating to the Bay Area. I love it. I always ask myself why I was ever in Los Angeles.

Hes working on his autobiography, and in 1999 he completed work on two films of which he is justly proud, Broken Bridges (a docudrama on the plight of Azerbaijan, directed by Rafigh Pooya) and The Crossing.

The latter stands out, by his own account, as the best work he has done since leaving Iran. The Crossing a European production by an American filmmaker, Nora Hoppe is the story of Babak, an exile who has spent 20 years away from his native country of Afghanistan. It was a part Vossoughi felt very close to, and he gave it all the concentration he had used to craft his finest performances in Iran.

And while he is still unable to make a film in Iran, recently several Iranian producers have sought him out for projects to be made in Europe. He is considering some of them but has turned down three others because they were for the regime.

He finds that work philosophically impossible. I think that artists must be independent. If I belong to some group or party or something, Im limited in my work. Whatever I do is for all people. I hate politics interfering with art.

Yet, for better or worse, Vossoughi and his work as an actor have been intimately tied to politics both in Iran and in the United States. Relations between the two countries have been thawing, but his films remain officially banned in Iran, along with nearly all prerevolutionary cinema. And for actors like Vossoughi, a blacklist is still enforced.

Meanwhile, the banned films of the prerevolutionary era sit in a precarious state of desuetude, the victim of official contempt and bureaucratic neglect. Many films are in danger of disintegration. Irans new wave, representing an as yet little-known cinematic treasure for Americans, lies for the time being largely out of reach.

For Iranians, however, who continue to enjoy his films in the privacy of their own homes on bootleg videotapes, Vossoughi has not gone away. Nostalgia for prerevolutionary popular culture has a currency many Americans might find hard to appreciate. In an ongoing war of images, idealizations of the past serve as one weapon of the representatives of Irans modern diaspora against the current regime.

Just last year, an interview with Vossoughi on Voice of America his only means of addressing the Iranian public sparked a flurry of speculation and rumor in Iranian newspapers over Vossoughis imminent return, talk that was quashed in the latest attack on the free press by right-wing forces in the government. Like Googoosh, Vossoughi remains a visceral link for Iranians, both at home and abroad, to a nostalgic image of the past.

 Even here in the United States where a similar, albeit subtler and more diffuse, set of circumstances has kept Vossoughi anonymous and underappreciated Kiarostamis tribute at last years film festival has jolted the public, exhibiting the same kind of power of which cinema, especially in the hands of a master like Kiarostami, is sometimes capable.

At this years San Francisco International Film Festival, English-speaking audiences in the Bay Area will have the rare opportunity to see some of Behrouz Vossoughis best work.

Paying tribute to Vossoughi as part of its Unvanquished series, founded in 1996 to recognize exceptional actors and filmmakers marginalized by politics, the festival will feature two of his films, Tangsir and Dash Akol.

As if to bring about his own wish to see Vossoughi return to the cinema, Kiarostami has set in motion in motion pictures, that is the return of an exiled actor to the big screen. -- http://www.behrouzvossoughi.com


 

Selected works of Vossoughi, Behrouz

1978   Broken Hearts - Suteh Delan (1978)
1976   Mah-e asal - Honeymoon (1976)
1976   The Divine One - Malakout (1976)
1975   Beehive - Kandu (1975)
1975   Kandu - Beehive (1975)
1973   Curse - Nefrin (1973)
1972   The Dagger - Deshne (1972)
1972   Deshne (1972)
1972   Baluch (1972)
1971   Dash akol (1971)
1970   The Invincible Six - Ghahremanan (1970)
1970   The Window - Panjereh (1970)
1969   Gheisar | Qaysar (1969)
1966   Goodbye Tehran - Khodahafez Tehran (1966)

S. Mokhberi - Man Equals Man 



Search


Search Online Film Home:

fa en



Choose an item to go there!


Links


Home
Archived news
OFH Bright version
Iran news

[ Yahoo! ]



options

Find a birthday!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Home | Film News | Directors Search | Find birthdays! | Persian Weblog | Contact

Copyright 2001 Online Film Home Communications