Monday 23 April 2018

Interview with Masoud Kimiai

Originally published in 2014 on Keyframe in conjunction with Edinburgh International Film Festival's retrospective on Iranian New Wave. -- EK

Masoud Kimiai (born 1941)

In his home country, he is the most popular filmmaker of his generation. Elsewhere, his ultra-masculine dramas of camaraderie, revenge and male bonds are rarely seen, and if seen, hardly appreciated. He's never been an international film festival darling.

He contributed to the birth if a "different cinema" in Iran by making the rape/revenge thriller Qeysar (1969). His other key film, The Deer (1974), keeps appearing triumphantly in Iranian polls, often winning the title of "the best film in the history of Iranian cinema."

Kimiai makes no bone about his love for classical Hollywood and genre cinema. He grew up going to Tehran's second run cinemas which were mostly playing westerns and crime films. A decade later and before tuning director, he assisted a visiting Hollywood pro, Jean Negulesco, during the shoot of a co-production (The Invincible Six). In a sense, Kimiai's cinema since the 1960s has been a persistent and relentless reinterpretation of the American films he has loved in his youth and trying to marry that, sometimes with stunning results, to a politically-conscious cinema.

He answered my questions on a piece of paper. He loves real, physical things: papers, wrist watches, and hats. The answers are not necessarily responding to the questions but then they might be even more interesting.