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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


April 10, 2000

Trashy escapist films

In reference to "Farewell to Fardin", in two words: Total rubbish!

The writer of your pompous obituary on Fardin is clearly ignorant of everything about cinema. Fardin never wrote the screen plays of any film, never directed any film, never edited any film and never produced any film.

He played in films under the directorial efforts and schemes of the film makers, in his case mostly Siamak Yassemi. Therefore you cannot say "Fardin's Cinema". Very unfortunately the films he played in were escapist films of the worst kind. In terms of a cinema of the "ordinary man", the accolade should go to Majid Mohseni or Nasser Malek-Moti'ee. Mohseni, incidentally, was the director and the script writer of his films. And so was Khatchikian the honest craftsman and the great crowd puller of "action films".

The films in which Fardin appeared came to be fashionable before the arrival of James Bond films, or Antonioni's "Blow Up" that was shown in Iran towards the end of the 60's when Fardin was waning. Forough Farrokhzad's reference to Fardin was in a poem that was written and published years before either James Bonds or "Blow Up." What she said about "Fardin Cinema" was clearly to lambaste that kind of films -- the trashy escapist cinema. It was not in praise. It was given as an example of the worst kind of filmmaking and mental manipulation of the society.

Fardin seems to have been a simple, likeable person, a wrestler with good looks who was used by a certain type of film producers alien to social and artistic aims, who were riding on the crest of the incoming wave of economical ease and the dream and expectation of an affluent life, all in tune with the superficial state of things and the official propaganda of the time. In this respect the films they were making were contributory to the prevailing falsehoods and make-believe that ended with the violent events at the end of the 70's.

Since when the death of such innocent, manipulated persons could be nominated as "the end of an era" in Iranian or any other country's social history"? Does your writer want us to believe that the downfall of Mossadegh and the events before or after it did not touch our "innocence" and did not prompt our coming of age as much as the existence or death of Fardin does, or did.?

The status of your publication deserves better, less ignorant pieces.

Ashraf Esfandiary


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