Delhoreh (Anxiety). 1962. Iran. Written and directed by Samuel Khachikian. With Irene, Abdollah Bootimar, Arman, Shandermani, Reza Beik Imanverdi. Digital preservation courtesy Cineteca di Bologna. US premiere. In Persian; English subtitles. 113 min.
A tense story of deceit, blackmail, and murder (with a nod to Les Diaboliques), Anxiety captured audiences in a way no Iranian film had before. Samuel Khachikian creates a unique world, by turns familiar and alien, mapping the features of an ever-changing country: the emergence of a new bourgeoisie with their maids, American cars, subscription magazines, Western music, homes with staircases (as opposed to traditional flat houses), and the presence of modern architecture and impressive midcentury government buildings. Khachikian, whose style had matured by this point in his career, interweaves a tautly edited drama with documentary-style observations of contemporary Tehran—and a sudden outburst of violence.