April 19, 2007


A comic film about a grim subject: Why Iranians of all stripes are packing the cinemas to see it (The Economist, 4/19/07)

After two successful documentaries, about prostitution and football violence, [Masoud] Dehnamaki's first feature film, now filling cinemas in the capital, Tehran, is an irreverent comedy called Ekhrajiha (“The Outcasts”). By portraying a gang of Tehran thieves and junkies as war heroes, it took the authorities by surprise.

At the start of the film, the hero, Majid, is imprisoned for attacking a man who makes salacious comments to a virtuous young woman. Despite the authorities' unwillingness to accept Majid and his unsavoury friends as volunteers in the war against Iraq (all of whom were meant to be devout), they reach the front line to be redeemed by sacrifice. When Ekhrajiha failed to win any of the prizes at the recent Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran, Mr Dehnamaki hinted that the authorities wanted to suppress it for being subversive.

But his dismissive attitude to the revolution's sacred cows has won him wide admiration, among both liberal intellectuals and Muslim fundamentalists. His first documentary, about prostitution, was equally provocative, breaking an official taboo by suggesting that the Islamic republic's veneer of virtue hid a society marred by corruption and poverty.

Illustrating both the lack of effective repression and the distance of the masses from officialdom.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2007 4:55 PM

Sounds like an Iranian version of M*A*S*H (the Altman film, not The Alan Alda Show).

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 19, 2007 5:14 PM