Filmfarsi. 2019. Iran/Great Britain. Written and directed by Ehsan Khoshbakht. DCP. In Persian, English; English subtitles. 84 min.
Ehsan Khoshbakht’s found-footage essay film, a critical history of Iran under the Shah, salvages low-budget thrillers and melodramas that were suppressed following the 1979 Islamic revolution and long believed destroyed. A cinema of titillation, action, and grandiose emotions, filmfarsi also presented a troubling mirror for the country and its deep-seated social and political conflicts. Often cheap, sleazy, and derivative, these films nonetheless offer a psychological profile of a deeply afflicted nation and, among the piles of scratched reels, some keystones of Iran’s extraordinary film culture emerge.