Capital Celluloid 2024 — Day 114: Tue Apr 23

Chess Of The Wind (Aslani, 1976): Genesis Cinema, 9pm

Released and shown only twice in 1976, this Iranian gothic thriller was banned by the Iranian theologians in power from 1979 and thought lost forever - until that is, the mid 2010s, when the director’s children found a copy in a charity shop. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Image Retrouvée laboratory (Paris) in collaboration with Mohammad Reza Aslani and Gita Aslani Shahrestani. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

Film Forum introduction:
In an ornate, candlelit mansion in 1920s Tehran, the heirs to a family fortune vie for control of their matriarch’s estate — erupting in a ferocious final act. Screened publicly just once before it was banned, then lost for decades. “The opulent, claustrophobic interiors are reminiscent of Persian miniatures… The influence of European cinematic masters like Pasolini, Visconti and Bresson is also apparent. The sound design also stands out: wolves howl and dogs bay as they circle the house, ratcheting up the sense of menace; crows caw, jangling the nerves; heavy breathing makes the characters’ isolation in this haunted house increasingly oppressive. The soundtrack — an early work by trailblazing female composer Sheyda Gharachedaghi — takes inspiration from traditional Iranian music, and sounds like demented jazz.” – The Guardian.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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