Gavaznha (The Deer). 1974. Written and directed by Masoud Kimiai. Written and directed by Masoud Kimiai. With Behrouz Vossoughi, Faramarz Gharibian, Nosrat Partovi, Parviz Fannizadeh. DCP. In Persian; English subtitles. 120 min.
Masoud Kimiai’s The Deer embodies all that is great about Iranian cinema of the 1970s: It is political, provocative, sincere, angry, and tragic. One has the sense of imminent revolution in this story of a former champ turned junkie who reunites with a leftist classmate and is redeemed by revolutionary anger. Premiering at the Tehran International Film Festival in November 1974 but not presented in Tehran cinemas until January 1976, the film suffered severely from censorship. Kimiai’s vision was deemed so incendiary that the secret service forced him to shoot an alternate ending—in which the protagonists surrender to the police—that became the only version known to Iranian audiences until the 1979 revolution permitted the original climax to be restored. Both endings are screened in this exhibition.