Art And Culture

‘Lovers’ Wind’ Carries Hall Packed to the Hilt

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‘Lovers’ Wind’ Carries Hall Packed to the Hilt
‘Lovers’ Wind’ Carries Hall Packed to the Hilt

Charsou Cineplex Hall 1 was packed to the gills on Sunday (April 24) in the debut screening of the restored version of ‘The Lovers’ Wind’, a documentary directed and produced by the late French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse.

There was much enthusiasm to see the digitally improved version of the movie, screened for the first time at the 34th Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF) in Tehran. All the seats in the hall were taken and those left standing outside appealed to see the film even by squatting on the floor or standing.

Surprised at such a great reception, the festival organizers let the waiting film fans in, who found a place to sit in the aisles (including this reporter) or stand at the rear end.

The documentary beautifully depicts landscapes of Iran from an aerial view, showing waters of the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf in the south, palm trees in the west, central deserts and eastern meadows, ruins of ancient historical sites like the city of Susa and Persepolis, as well as people in different locations. About 85% of the film was shot from a helicopter. Although it shows real images of the country, there is a fictional (and funny at times) narration by the acclaimed Manouchehr Anvar.

Iranian traditional and ethnic music also accompanies the picture and narration. The composition by Master Hossein Dehlavi, includes several pieces with Persian instruments tar, tonbak, santur, ney and violin, greatly contributing to each scene.

Before showing the film, veteran filmmaker and photographer Seyfollah Samadian, screening manager of the festival, and actor-producer Alireza Shojanoori, secretary of expert sessions, introduced the work to the local and international audience and asked Anvar, 88, to speak about his cooperation in the film.

Taking the stage amid a standing ovation, Anvar said that the film’s English narration was also done by him. “The English narrative was a free translation of the French story written for the film. Lamorisse asked me to do the Persian translation as I wanted it.”

 Lyrical Narrative

In Persian, the title of the movie is translated as ‘Saba Wind’ coming from the northwest symbolizing the message of love. The film is lyrically narrated by the voice of the wind.

Born in Tehran, Anvar is a veteran filmmaker, writer, editor, translator and voice artist. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and started his artistic career in 1958 after returning to Iran. He has also done the voice-over of the teaser of the 34th FIFF.

After 38 years, ‘The Lovers’ Wind’ was modified with the help of the National Film Archives of Iran. Ladan Taheri, archives manager, said, “We were able to restore the film in Iran since it was left in the archives 50 years ago.”

She was critical of filmmakers who keep their movies in the basements, storerooms or closets for their own reasons. “I am sorry to say that such films are doomed to be destroyed and forgotten,” she said and asked local filmmakers to consider the National Film Archives as their safe house and handover their productions to it for safe keeping and posterity.

Lamorisse (1922-1970) made the memorable work in 1969. He came back to Iran the next year to add more scenes on the advances of the country but was killed in a helicopter crash while filming Karaj (Amir Kabir) Dam 63 km northwest of Tehran.

His widow and son completed the film, based on his production notes, and released it eight years later in 1978. It was nominated for a posthumous Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1979.

The film got a minute-long rapturous applause from the audience after it finished screening.