Mitra Farahani (shown below), that she happened upon and grew interested in the work and then the personality of Iranian artist Bahman Mohassess just at the time that she did, for this has allowed her to meet, film and finally honor him and his work in a manner that neither she nor we could have imagined going into this odd project. The result, a new documentary called FIFI HOWLS FROM HAPPINESS (who could quite resist a title like that?), is something else. For most of us, at the very least, it will provide an introduction to a man and his art, not to mention his outsize personality, that should firmly lodge in our memory.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and then enjoyed the short-lived rule (1951-53) of Mohammad Mosaddegh, the Democratically elected Prime Minister, whom the American and British governments helped to over when Mosaddegh deigned to nationalize Iran's oil production, foolishly imagining that the country in which the oil existed might have some claim to owning that oil.
Visconti's The Leopard, is clearly a favorite of Mohassess. Does the artist get involved in his own movie? Yes, indeed. He even describes rather fully the finale he'd like to see. "So, lady," he asks Farahani early on, "What's the plan for my film's music?"
Music Box Films, opens this Friday, August 8, here in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and in Los Angeles the following Friday, August 15, at Laemmle's Royal and Town Center 5. I don't think that any further scheduled playdates are available now, but as the weeks wear on, you can click here and perhaps discover some new cities and venues added. Eventually, there'll be streaming and DVD.