We continue with our exploration of the Iranian Cinema on offer at the Wales One World festival with a discussion of the extraordinary The Deer/ Gavaznha (1974), a metaphor for pre-revolutionary Iran’s social relations, focussing on down and outs living in a courtyard with a heroin addict and a bank robber as heroes. The influence of Italian neo-realism is everywhere present in a film that is simultaneously symbolic but also pulpy and visceral. It’s an iconic film extra-textually as well: a cinema showing the film was burned down killing hundreds of people. It’s a film that is still banned in Iran. Behrouz Vossoughi gives an extraordinary performance.
Thanks to a friend, Richard and I have also been able to see the film’s original ending where Ghodrat (Faramarz Gharibian) believes Seyed (Behrooz Vousoughi) has betrayed him and shoots him. As Seyed is on his knees he explains that friendship comes before anything and Ghodrat , visibly moved, gives himself up to the police. The film ends with the promise of the two friends re-uniting at the end of the prison term with the promise of healing and solidarity in the aftermath of the current situation. It’s very moving.
Ehsan Khoshbakht, the director of Filmfarsi, wrote us a quick note to pick up on some of the points discussed in the podcast on The Deer:
Ehsan makes an interesting comparison of it with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, particularly the ending