I remember reading about The Queen and I (2008) and the luke warm praise that it received from pretty much all sides. So I wasn’t too enthused to watch it but when the film was released on Netflix as a streaming video late last month I decided to watch it. I had recently watched The King’s Speech on screen which is nominated for Oscars for just about every category. So I thought this may be a good time to watch the Monarchy from another perspective, not necessarily as “they’re just human like the rest of us”, but just another perspective.
I also didn’t know that this was an HBO documentary. I don’t have HBO anymore but their documentaries are usually good. Here’s where you can watch a trailer of The Queen and I.
Overall I’d say I was impressed with this documentary and would recommend it. It has some good scenes from nice places and also Farah herself plays well. The film maker Nahid Persson Sarvestani was herself banned from making films inside Iran and had to go to exile and was a revolutionary during the 1979 revolution and called herself a Communist who also lost one of her brothers at the hands of the Revolutionary courts.
In my opinion Farah comes out good in this movie and if she’s reading this you did a good job! Some advice to Farah if no one advised her on answering such questions. At the beginning Nahid asks her how she’d like to be addressed to which Farah responds Shahbanou (King’s wife/Queen). I think in this context for a documentary she could have answered “how would you like to address me?”. If Nahid had said Farah khanoom or Farah joon she could’ve responded well Mrs. Pahlavi may be better. She actually introduced herself as Farah Pahlavi in a phone conversation so it’d have been fine. If Nahid had said Shahbanou then it’d have been what she wanted in the first place.
Another advice would be to not look so surprised to see an Iranian Communist! This is when Farah first decides to cancel the documentary after she does some research and finds out that Nahid was a communist and called Shah a butcher or something like that. Then after Nahid sends her a trailer she decides to continue with the film. So at her first scene after the comeback Farah decides to interview Nahid on film. Farah asks; so are you a Communist, Tudehi, Fedaie minority or majority, Mojahed what? As if these leftist groups are supposed to have a different skin color or something! She kind of looks odd and out of place. Nahid responds that she was with a small fringe communist party distributing leaflets. In this case Farah could’ve acted a little more in tune and not so surprised. After all she knew who was making the film.
My third and last advice would be towards the end when Nahid asked her if she ever felt anything romantic towards someone or if anyone asked her anthing romantically since she became a widow at the age of 41. Farah responds that she didn’t allow herself or anyone because of the way she felt was “her place in history”. I’d have just left it at she just didn’t allow herself or anyone and not any reference to history.
Other than that I think Farah did well in choosing a former communist to make a film about her and not someone from her own circles. She did well and to me she came out fine. So much so that Nahid herself said towards the end that she feels she is now a “Farah follower” but never a Monarchist.
In this documentary you also get to see some full blown red blooded Monarchists (if you haven’t seen one up close and personal 🙂 and how they talk and act! Not like the off the wagon Johny come lately faux Monarchist we see here and there on this website!