Iran All the Way


It’s Throwback Thursday as The Forgotten harkens back to June’s Edinburgh International Film Festival and its retrospective of movies from Iran before the revolution — that brief glimmering between the birth of cinema in that country and its descent into theocracy.

This comes, ironically, just as Chris Fujiwara announces that he’s leaving his position as director of the festival, after a stint in which he reinvigorated an event that was pretty much on the rocks. He will be missed — but he leaves us with an EIFF in great shape.


9 Responses to “Iran All the Way”

  1. I didn’t know that Chris is leaving. A major loss.

    One point about the first paragraph of your MUBI piece (which I enjoyed reading, especially, among other things, the comparison between Mongols and Head):

    I won’t call these films, or those shown at EIFF, films “from the earliest days of that country’s film industry.” The industry dates back to the 1930s while the focus of the Edinburgh retrospective was on arthouse films or rather the birth of Iranian New Wave cinema of the early 1960s and 70s.

    I would love to do a retrospective of Iranian early cinema which is quite interesting. Many genre films in the 50s that need to be remembered.

  2. Thanks for that — I am very very far from being expert in Iranian film history. Genre films often seem to get neglected in discussions of cinema from countries outside the US and Japan and Hong Kong. I attended a fascinating class by Mark Cousins on Indian cinema where I learned a huge amount, but it was striking that Bollywood was left out of the equation altogether. Or almost. Which is fine, as a choice, but what was odd is that I don’t recall him even saying he’d made that choice.

  3. Love Chris Fujiwara.

    Meanwhile re The Big News Story of The Century So Far: Has Tilda been declared Queen of Scotland yet?

    Please keep us apprised of the Vote!

  4. We’ll probably be asleep when the news is announced, so you’ll hear before us.

    As Dudley Sutton said to me in 1989, “I’m so glad to be back in the People’s Republic of Scotland, because up here you not only SAY you don’t vote for her, you DON’T vote for her.” We finally decided to vote Yes to independence just because of the Conservative Party’s having ruled Scotland for most of our lives despite polling virtually no votes north of the border.

  5. While you snooze, we’ll be following #indyref.

    The Conservative Party has a knack for producing politicians that are richly hate-able even across an ocean. I remember watching the British election results of ’95 (? – the Labour landslide) on C-SPAN and cheering the sequential downfall of guys I had no reason to care about or even know about. Michael Portillo!

  6. Portillo is a force of nature in terms of hatefulness. He now presents a programme about train journeys, which should be as inoffensive as you can get, except for the infuriating irony that his government helped privatise and ruin our rail transit system.

    I may have already mentioned the Portillo story I heard involving former Edinburgh Film Fest director Shane Danielsen, but I am happy to repeat it if requested.

  7. Yes please.

  8. Shane, who spent all his festivals sweltering in a tuxedo, was walking up Lothian Road en route to Filmhouse with a friend. Look, says his friend, pointing into a sandwich bar, “There’s Michael Portillo.” “Excuse me,” says Shane and enters the joint, approaches Portillo, who is drinking coffee and reading the paper. He taps Mr Portillo’s paper. Portillo looks up.

    “Mr Portillo, you’re a cunt.”

    And off he goes, immaculate in his tux.

    I have no evidence this is true, but I very much want to believe it.

  9. We should all walk around in tuxedos, just in case the opportunity arises.

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