"Milton produced Paradise Lost for the same reason that a silk worm produces silk. It was an activity of his nature." -- Karl Marx
I am Ehsan Khoshbakht, from Iran. Noticing the beautiful, fundamentally surrealistic country that I'm coming from, will explain how everything I loved in my life was not "allowed," and at best, they were luxuries, impossible to be afforded by someone from a middle class family in a small city in north-eastern Iran; I loved cinema, and then I loved jazz, so fighting for what I liked, and trying to prove its beauty, harmlessness, and necessity became a part of my life. Considering the time and place I was born and raised, with a revolution, a bloody eight-year war, and the endless social and political turmoils, to me arts became the collective act of "Resistance" through beauty.
My academic background is in architecture and urban design (MA from Azad University of Mashhad, Iran), and Film Studies (MA from Metropolitan University of London). I am currently based in London.
|Experimental cinema and jazz, a programme I curated in London with Shura Greenberg and his quintet (or sextet)|
Accustomed to living an eclectic life, I have done architectural design projects (not many though), many writings (online and in print, blog or book, in Farsi or in English), exploring the world of jazz with my jazz blog, Take the "A" Train, and a weekly internet-based radio programme called Jazz for Iran. I make documentary films, teach history and aesthetics of cinema and supervise publishing film books for a publisher in Mashhad, Iran.
|design of a cinematheque for Mashhad, 2007|
The following list is an ongoing update of published works and new projects that I get involve. The link to the websites for reading the complete pieces is provided. Recently, I was profiled on Wall Street Journal by legendary writer and civil right activist Nat Hentoff (here). WSJ's article was followed by an interview with Canadian National Radio, CBC, and some other online articles, including this one on Aslan Media website.
An extract from Caligari To Libeskind, the documentary I made in 2009.
On this website, you can find all the 25 episodes of jazz radio show I hosted and produced, known as Radio Hawkins: Jazz For Iran.
|Poster for A Journey Through Iranian Cinema with Mark Cousins (UK title: On the Road with Mark Cousins), a short documentary I made last year, available for rental in North America here.|
February 2013 turned out to be one of the busiest months in recent years, as far as publishing is concerned. The most auspicious event of the month, was Jonathan Rosenbaum's 70th birthday that Keyframe celebrated it by running my recent interview with Jonathan about jazz and film criticism, along with a video portrait by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and Kevin B. Lee. Meanwhile, on my blog I published more audio/video stuff which can be accessed here.
My first piece of film criticism, written for Tajrobeh [a journal of art and humanities], was published near the end of February. It was on Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa's documentary Jerry & ME.
From Film 455: On Sergiu Nicolaescu which is, more or less, what I already said here on my blog. [see image below]
From the same issue, a review of Neil Young Journeys by Jonathan Demme.
The Iranian 24 [frame] Monthly published a translation of my favorite documentaries of 2012 (with exception of Jerry & ME which I'm going to explain later on my blog), plus a note by me on Il deserto rosso. The table of contents of the 36th issue of 24 can be checked here.
Interview with Abbas Kiarostami, translated here for the Keyframe.
Film Monthly 449: Notes on women cinema & four articles about Dorothy Arzner.
Interview with Abbas Kiarostami, translated here for the Keyframe.
The article I wrote after the passing of Romanian director, actor and politician Sergiu Nicolaescu became one of the most read posts of my blog in less than four days, and it was enthusiastically received in Romania. The daily newspaper Adevărul wrote about that, and later, the complete article, translated into Romanian appeared on Dilema Veche [picture above].
Best of 2012: You can read my best of the year picks and lists at Keyframe [here and here] and Notebook, the latter being the 5th fantasy double feature poll.
I continued my musing on women cinema for the Film Monthly, this time, on Ida Lupino, for the 453th issue.
Freedom and Organization: a report from 56th London Film Festival for Iranian Film Monthly.
Miniatures in Motion: Iran in color dreams and visions of Stan Brakhage on NOTEBOOK
Film Monthly 448: on Andre Hussein's film music and the Chelsea Girls (A. Warhol)Film Monthly 447: Reports from Il Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival.
"Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark": Motherland, Occupation and Resistance in Jean Grémillon's "Lumière d’été" on MUBI NOTEBOOK
Attended Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy. Festival reports here.
Dossier on Alain Resnais for the Film Monthly. Jonathan Rosenbaum kindly wrote the introduction.
|Southbank, London, April 2012. ©Ehsan Khoshbakht|
Vincente Minnelli & the matter of design, today on MUBI's Notebook.
Wrote the liner notes for the new album of Kevin McMahons Quartet.
|Frankly My Dear|
Wrote the introduction to the Farsi edition of Frankly My Dear: Gone With the Wind Revisited by Molly Haskell.
My interview with Geoff Andrew, head of programming at British Film Institute, about his passion for Kiarostami, and his book on Ten, appears here.
Watch my documentary (or more likely a video essay) on relation between architecture and cinema in Germany of 1920s, known as expressionist period. CALIGARI TO LIBESKIND
Reverse Darwinism in Cinema for Film Monthly, No. 432
Interview with Geoff Andrew + Interview with Laura Groves on music score for silent films in the last issue of "Film International". Also on Hedy Lamarr, and new column about cinephilia in 21th century (published) and Jean-Pierre Léaud (to be published) for "24 magazine".
In Joiners Arms club in Hackney I organized two events of jazz music and abstract/avant-garde cinema.
From Film Monthly 428:
On Christian Marclay's :The Clock, a masterpiece of time.
Garbage Talks: Dylan, Weberman and Garbology
In this month, first Film Directors Encyclopedia in Farsi (picture above) was published. As a contributor, I have 72 entries in the book, including:
Also from Film Monthly, 427:Renoir, Tati, Gance, Stroheim, Hitchcock, Gremillion, Ford, Lang, Dwan, Ray, Litvak, Welles, Carne, Rohmer, Penn, Eisenstein, Vidor, Antonioni, Christy Cabanne, Clarence Brown, Pennebaker, Dorothy Arzner, Dziga Vertov, Elia Kazan, Capra, Zinneman, George Stevens, Georges Melies, Gregory La Cava, H. C. Potter, Henri-Georges Clozout, Henry King, Jack Conway, Jacques Becker, Jacques Feyder, James Whale, Strenberg, John English/William Witney, Sturges, Duvivier, Lev Kuleshov, Lewis Milestone, Lewis Seiler, Lloyd Bacon, Luchino Visconti, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Marcel L'Herbier, Marcel Pagnol, Mervyn Le Roy, Maurice Touneur, Norman Foster, Raymond Bernard, Richard Boleslawski, Richard Brooks, Robert Aldrich, Robert Florey, Robert Rossen, Robert Wiene, Sacha Guitry, Sam Wood, Shirley Clark, Sidney Lumet, Tay Garnett, Tod Browning, Victor Fleming, Victor Seastrom, Vincent Sherman, Vitorio De Sica, Vsevald Pudovkin, William Wyler.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and International Women's Day
On Becket's TV Works
Social Networks and Film Criticism
|Scorsese by Ebert (Farsi translation)|
The Daily Notebook's 3rd Writers' Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2010
From 421th Film Monthly:
Exiles on Main St.: on Recent Rockumentaries
From Fellini to Fosse: Musical reinterpretations of European art film.
|Metropolitan Urban Design Workshop: Me (right) with Madadi, my boss at the time (middle), and Andrew Olszewski. Autumn 2010|
From Film Monthly, 420 Issue:
- On Orson Welles's TV Works
- A Feminine Vertigo: On Chantal Akerman's Le Captive
12th Issue of 24 Monthly:
- On David Fincher
- On Houshang Golmakani
- On Yves Montand
From Film Monthly, 418th Issue:
On Arthur Penn
A detailed and analytical filmography of Robert Aldrich
Best Jazz Scores in History of Cinema: A Favorite Top 25
In the same issue of Film Monthly Houshang Golmakani's review of Celluloid Architecture book was published.
11th Issue of 24 Monthly:
- On Phillip Seymour Hoffman
- On "Film and City"
- On Henri Langlois, and Film Archives.
From 417th Film Monthly:
On Dracula in Pakistan
On Jack Clayton's Innocents
On Arthur Penn's Micky One
From 10th Issue of 24 Monthly:
- On Cate Blanchett
(Download in PDF. It's in Farsi)
Lecturing on "the nature of cinematographic image" in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.
From 415th Film Monthly:
Anatomy of Dream Factory: a long essay on history of film studios in Hollywood, Germany, Italy and England.
From 9th Issue of 24 Monthly:
- On Morgan Freeman (PDF)
An Interview with Silent Film Composer Ekkehard Wölk for Silent Era. Read it here.
A selection of my favorite noir directors, as well as an article on Jeff Bridges.(download it in PDF format, here. It's in Farsi of course!)
From 414th Film Monthly:
Truth is a guillotine [on Claude Chabrol in his 80s]
Profession: Anti-Fascist [on Dashiell Hammett's Watch on the Rhine]
LIFE ... REPLACED BY FRESH CORPSE: David Thomson's “Have You Seen...” Reviewed, appears in the summer issue of Noir City Sentinel. It's a noir report of Thomson's massive book.#
MUBI's Notebook post from July.
On Victor Sjöström and his influence on Bergman for 24 Monthly. (Download it here)
From 413th issue of Film Monthly:
- On Dede Allen
- On John Ford's Bucking Broadway.
- On Blast Of Silence.
Review of Celluloid Architecture book appeared in 24 Monthly. In the same issue and under the section, auteur's note, I introduced my book.
Published works from 412th Film Monthly:
- On Dennis Hopper
- Reviewing Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro.
From 411th issue of Film Monthly:
On Victor Fleming and reflections of his character in Clark Gable's Rhett Butler.
On Fritz Lang's Clash by Night.
Obituary: Kathryn Grayson
Shargh, an important daily newspaper, reviewed Celluloid Architecture book.
So long Eric, an essay on Eric Rohmer + Reading film frames: a new approach to studying and analyzing films appeared in the 410th issue of Film Monthly.
My essay on Jean Grémillon, from the 409th issue of Film Monthly, apparently the first article in Farsi about the great French filmmaker published.
A positive review of Celluloid Architecture book appears in Shahra Ara Daily, one of Mashhad's three biggest newspapers. [read here]
My first book, Celluloid Architecture (in Farsi), on interplay between cinema and architecture, published. [picture above]
From 408th issue of Film Monthly: "New York and the movies" and a small piece on Egyptian remake of The Asphalt Jungle, Cairo (Wolf Rilla, 1963).
For the special issue of "International Fajr Film Festival," I wrote an article about directors who emerged from TV in the history of motion pictures.
My interview with German silent film composer, Ekkehard Wölk, appeared in 60th issue of Film Quarterly.
Three new articles in the 405th issue of Film Monthly:
- On Man Ray, the filmmaker.
- On H. C. Potter's early post modern masterpiece, Hellzapoppin'
- On Sacha Guitry's Le roman d'un tricheur
An homage to the cinema of Joseph M. Newman concerning his centennial in the 404th issue of Film Monthly, accompanied with two other pieces on Cornel Wilde's The Naked Prey and Public Domain films.
Screening my documentary From Caligari to Libeskind in Khayyam University.
Lecturing on "cinema & architecture - the meanings of image," for architecture students of Khayyam University.
Three pieces published in 402th issue of Film Monthly: On Tiffany studios in early 1930s; remembering Singing in the rain; on Braineaters.
Publishing two of my pieces (a comparison between Sherlock Holmes series and Moto's in the historical context of WW II and spy films; the second one, on Michael Curtiz's Young man with a horn and fictional jazz bio-pics.
My interview with German Silent film composer and pianist, Ekkehard Wölk, appeared in the 402th issue of the Film Monthly. The English version will be printed in the upcoming issue of Film International Quarterly.
From the 401th issue of Film Monthly my new column Bazkhaniha [rediscoveries/revisitings] started.
A new collection of my writings appears in Film Monthly:
- Tracing the landing on moon in history of cinema.
- On British screen writer, Alec Coppel.
- Introducing Gerald Peary's For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism to Iranian film goers.
- On Early Katharine Hepburn films.
- First article from a humorous series on bad movies (this one about Ray Kellogg)
- My response to David Thomson's inequitable note on An American In Paris, in his book "Have you seen?"
A very long piece that I've wrote on history and aesthetic of movie posters appeared in a special issue of Film publications.
Launching my blogs, Take the 'A' train and Notes on cinematograph.
Three long essays for mini-retrospectives in International Fajr Film Festivel: John Ford (Oscar winning films), Alfred Hitchcock (British period), and Francis Ford Coppola (in the 1970s).
I was the guest editor of a special issue of Art Monthly, celebrating 50th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, including my introduction to this anthology of writings and interviews and also a piece on meanings of place and space in film.
After a year of work (including 2 months of editing) my first documentary film, From Caligari to Libeskind, about German expressionist cinema and architecture of the 1920s and its longing influence on history of art and architecture was screened for a small group of colleagues and friends. Since then, due to some references to Holocaust in the film, I haven't been able to screen the film in Iran.
Teaching genre studies in a cultural institute in Northeast of Iran.
A session of teaching Space In Cinema (architecture, city, landscape and cityscape in movies), from 2007.
Teaching film history in Agah Film. The course went on successfully for more than 100 hours.
Design project: a cinematheque for Mashhad, Iran.
Organizing a genre retrospective (comedy and western) for Khorasan's society of film critics.
Organizing a retrospective of John Huston and Sam Peckinpah films (shown occasionally in 35mm versions) in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.