Aramesh Dar Hozor-e Digaran (Tranquility in the Presence of Others). 1969. Iran. Directed by Nasser Taghavi. Screenplay by Taghavi, Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi. With Akbar Meshkin, Soraya Ghasemi, Leila Baharan. DCP. In Persian; English subtitles. 86 min.
A key work of the Iranian New Wave, Tranquillity in the Presence of Others, Nasser Taghavi’s poignant, tough-minded adaptation of a story by Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi, attacks the impotence and empty rhetoric of Iranian intellectuals in the face of a stubbornly patriarchal and authoritarian society. Banned after a single screening at the Shiraz Arts Festival of 1969—a ban that was not removed until 1973—it tells the story of a retired army colonel who travels to Tehran with his newlywed wife to visit his daughters, only to be dismayed by their unhappiness and casual affairs. As his mental condition deteriorates, the film’s tone shifts from sardonic to tragic.