Gharibeh va Meh (The Stranger and the Fog). 1974. Iran. Written and directed by Bahram Beyzaie. With Parvaneh Massoumi, Khosrow Shojazadeh, Manouchehr Farid. Digital restoration courtesy Janus Films, restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Bahram Beyzaie, funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. In Persian; English subtitles. 146 min.
Impossible to see for decades and presented in a new digital restoration from the original camera negative, Bahram Beyzaie’s dazzling The Stranger and the Fog, about a mysterious stranger who arrives in a coastal village on a drifting boat and falls for a local woman, is an endlessly symbolic tale in which uncontrollable forces of nature, superstition, ritual, and violence disorient the viewer in exhilarating ways. In the film’s meticulously structured circular narrative, characters, times, and spaces rhyme and mirror one another, turning filmmaking into an act of dreaming. Characters are the product of one another’s imagination, and eventually all become myth. The film cedes the center of both desire and control to a woman of will, breaking through the strictures of victimized women presented in many Iranian films of the 1970s.