Sunday 4 March 2018

The Night It Rained (Kamran Shirdel, 1967)

From my Iranian New Wave programme notes, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, 2015. The world premiere of the restored version (2K). -- EK

PS: Playing in London on March 16, 2018. [+]

Iran, 1967 Regia: Kamran Shirdel
T. int.: The Night It Rained or the Epic of the Gorgan Village Boy. Scen.: Esmaeel Noori Ala, Kamran Shirdel. F.: Naghi Maasoumi. M.: Fatemeh Dorostian. Int.: Nosratollah Karimi (narrator/interviewer). Prod.: The Ministry of Culture.

Shirdel and cameraman Naghi Maasoumi on the set
This satirical documentary film offers a crash course in 1960s Iran. A newspaper story of a heroic village boy who prevented a train disaster appears and spreads quickly. The incident, reported on and challenged by local officials and journalists, is soon doubted and leads ultimately to confusion, with nobody knowing exactly who has saved whom.

Shirdel (left) with Francesco Rosi in Tehran
 Born in 1939, Shirdel is best remembered for his clandestine documentaries about impoverished people – not forgetting his remake of À bout de souffle under the title The Morning of the Fourth Day (1972). A graduate of Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, his other films prior to The Night It Rained were funded and banned by the Iranian government, never shown under the Shah. This anti-authoritarian, Rashomonesque tale was also initially banned, but six years after production was deemed harmless. It was then premiered at the Tehran International Film Festival where it won the Best Short Film award.

original poster - slightly modified for re-release in 2014

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