Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Iran's Marlon Brando

His name is Behrouz Vosoughi. To some, he is the best male actor in Iran before the revolution.

To my shame, I know too little about pre-revolution Iranian cinema and even less about Vossoughi.

Primarily, because when I was growing up these films were considered "adult film" and my parents had a strict regime of what was suitable for me to watch. My mother was a modern woman, and a feminist one; but she considered the Western cultural emulations displaced, distasteful and inappropriate.

Then, after revolution, these films were banned; and possessing them became illegal. This suited my parents just fine, because at the time Iranian cinema was full of what is considered B-movies (Film-Farsi), which my parents considered corrupt and hallow. Of course, I was in grade school when all this happened. In any case, I did not grow up in a tele-visual or cinematic family! (my pre-revolutionary cinema-going memories belong to when my university-student uncle took me to cinema--and I hated those boring black and white films he subjected me to); or when my father saw to it that the cinema was kept private for a "family" viewing; because in those days cinemas were often for young men who were doing their military service.

Of course, when I left Iran I could access as many film-Farsi's as I wished, thanks to an Iranian video store in my neighborhood that carried the most obscure of them. However, mainly because Vosooghi often played the character of a Rough-Guy; and because I have little ability to watch violence and melodrama I was never attracted to the genre he was suited for. Nevertheless, he has acted in some of the films of notable Iranian directors such as Ali Hatami (Sootehdelam, 1977); Masood Kimiyayi (6 of Kimiai's famous films including Kaiser, 1969, video clip below); Amir Naderi (Tangseer, 1973); several films of Fereydoon Goleh including Kandoo, 1975) and others. Vosughi's career came to an end in 1981 when he chose exile to IRI.

I thought a little video clip of how a cinema star looked in pre-revolutionary Iran, together with a clip of one of his most famous films (Gheysar; meaning Kaiser) would be fun! It is essential to know that the Iranian cinema that, thanks to the French critics, became known as "The Cinema of 90s", is founded on a 100-years long tradition of filmmaking that started during the Qajar dynasty; and for which, academic foundations were established thanks to the efforts of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The clerics are now taking advantage of what they completely frowned upon then--and for which they really wanted the Pahlavis toppled! :)


Pedestrian said...

I could never bring myself to watch Gheysar ... Does he die at the end? I couldn't bring myself to watch him killed :(

Naj said...

Ped; I am not kidding, I have not seen ANY of his films :)) (other than sooteh delan; which was shown on TV in IRan during the war!)

Anonymous said...

Steve McQueen; not Marlon Brando!