Gheysar. 1969. Iran. Written and directed by Masoud Kimiai. With Behrouz Vossoughi, Pouri Banai, Naser Malek Motiee. DCP. In Persian; English subtitles. 100 min.
A cult classic of the Iranian New Wave, Gheysar was Masoud Kimiai’s second feature, and his first major departure from the trends and traditions of the then-dominant Iranian popular cinema known as filmfarsi. An instant success that changed the course of Iranian cinema overnight—critics warred over its merits while audiences disregarded the critics in droves—Gheysar had an immeasurable impact on the future course of Iranian cinema. Kimiai wedded formulas and tropes of classical Hollywood to his own forceful style. His artistry lies in relocating the mise en scène of his favorite American filmmakers (Vincent Sherman, Fred Zinnemann) to the underprivileged neighborhoods of south Tehran. The narrative is complemented by an elegiac score by Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh and a memorable title sequence designed by Abbas Kiarostami.