Mohsen Makhmalbaf is best known for Gabbeh and Kandahar, but this particular film of his is remarkable because it was first censored and then fully been arrested by the Iranian government in the 90s. Out of the 100 minutes, only 63 minutes had been salvaged, and what remains is so blatantly political and powerful, there’s no surprise that the censors gave up and decided to just steal the whole thing.
There was something unsettling and rigid in the characters’ monologues and the actors’ delivery, which I don’t think stems from censorship. Perhaps the agenda overtaking storytelling? That said, it was still a remarkable story that resonates despite the butchering. Does not make for happy watching: a trigger for politically-induced anxieties of a thinking and feeling human.
The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood (Shabhaye Zayendeh-Rood), 1990
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf