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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


April 10, 2000

Acknowledging Pop icons

I just read quite an angry letter about "Farewell to Fardin". I guess the author of the article on Fardin was right in pointing out that, "to most Iranian intellectuals [Fardin] remained an over-rated actor who represented a commercial cinema that was an embarrassment to our national identity." Though I am not sure if the person complaining about the article is in fact an intellectual!

The article did not call Fardin a good or even a mediocre actor. Nor did it praise his directorial talents. But every culture has its heroes and icons. A healthy culture is one that acknowledges such individuals and tries to live with them (see Roland Barthes' Mythologies).

Jean Luc Goddard's first feature film "Breathless" starred Jean-Paul Belmondo, the ex-boxer. In fact Belmondo's entire career is indebted to Goddard.Yet our local intellectuals (with a few exceptions) failed to use popular actors to convey more complex messages. I believe this has to do with the intense dichotomy between high and low art in our culture.

We want our music to be all "good" and our poetry is always measured with what the"masters" accomplished and thus our pop culture is always "mobtazal". Yet culture is a living organism, making its own rules as it goes through history. Our cinema cannot be an exception. The fact that our movies have become better over the years is a testimony to the work of all who were involved in its development.

I am not concerned with the quality of Fardin's work. But you may find it interesting that Fardin acted in fifty-seven films, directed eleven of them, wrote the script for five pictures and produced seven. These are the films he directed:

Gor-haaye gorosneh (1341 / 1962)
Haatam-e Taaee (1345 / 1966)
Eshgh va enteghaam (1344 / 1965)
Khoshgel khoshgelaa (1344 / 1965)
Gedaayaan-e Tehran (1345 / 1966)
Soltaan-e ghalb-haa (1347 / 1968)
Ghasreh zarrin (1348/ 1969)
Jahanam beh ezaafeh-ye man (1351 / 1972)
Gheseh-ye shab (1352 / 1973)
Gharaar-e Bozorg (1355 / / 1976)
Bar Faraaz-e aasmaanhaa (1358 / 1979)

Fardin worked with three distinguished Iranian filmmakers :with the late Jalal Moghadam in "Raaz-e derakht-e senjed", with the late Ali Hatami in "Baabaa Shamal" and with Masoud Kimiaie in "Ghazal".

For complete information on Fardin's work please see "Farhang-e sinemaa-ye Iran" Volumes1 and 2, by Jamal Omid, Negah Publicatins, Tehran 1366.

For over twenty years we tried to isolate our pop icons; turning Fardin into a carpet shop owner. And yet on Saturday the whole city of Tehran was out to say goodbye to Fardin at his funeral. The Azadi soccer stadium remained nearly empty as an important match was being played out. It seems clear to me as who our people think portrayed them in movies, good or bad.

Khosrow Vakili


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