Irresistible Forces, Immovable Objects

The Films of Amir Naderi

Mar 16–27, 2018


Monte (Mountain). 2016. Italy/France/USA. Directed by Amir Naderi. Courtesy of the filmmaker

Amir Naderi’s journey as a filmmaker began in Iran, where he was born in the southern port city of Abadan in 1946. Orphaned as a child, he spent his formative years on the street (an existence dramatized in his 1984 feature The Runner). A job working in a movie theater led him to discover his true homeland—the cinema—and Naderi has remained a citizen of that refined world ever since, pursuing his passion for filmmaking around the globe with no regard for physical borders or language barriers.

Naderi made his first films in the 1970s at Iran’s famed Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, working alongside Abbas Kiarostami. After The Runner and Water, Wind, Dust found critical favor on the international film festival circuit, Naderi relocated to New York. Themes of isolation and alienation, already present in his work, were amplified by his encounter with the city, and with Manhattan by Numbers (1993) Naderi began an extraordinary series of films—including A, B, C...Manhattan (1997), Marathon (2002), and Sound Barrier (2005)—in which characters map their desire for emotional connection onto the coldly rational structures of New York’s street grid and transportation systems.

With Vegas: Based on a True Story (2008) Naderi again expanded his territory, moving first to the American West, then to Japan (for the 2011 Cut), and back in time to medieval Italy for his most recent film, Monte (2016), the story of a poor farmer who picks a quarrel with no less a force than geography itself.

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].