Raghase-ye Shahr (Dancer of the City). 1970. Iran. Directed by Shapour Gharib. Screenplay by Reza Mirlohi. With Forouzan, Naser Malek Motiee, Bahman Mofid. Digital preservation courtesy Cineteca di Bologna. Preservation funded by Cineteca di Bologna and Michigan State University. World premiere. In Persian; English subtitles. 120 min.
Gholam, a restlessly married man, falls for Pari, a carefree dancer, with whom he starts a passionate affair. This irritates both Pari’s thuggish former lover and the owner of the cabaret where she works, leading to tragedy. A vivid, exciting tale of the failed search for artistic freedom and a woman’s independence in a religiously conservative society, Dancer of the City is made all the more compelling by its stars, Forouzan and Nasser Malek Motie, who breathe new life into melodramatic clichés. Shapour Gharib draws upon New Wave tendencies that were increasingly in vogue: the use of location photography, social commentary within genre tropes, and a soundtrack that moves between moody percussion and string arrangements and unabashedly groovy pop tunes.