Mohsen Makhmalbaf

One of the present day exponents of Iranian movie-making, Makhmalbaf is also one of the most active artists of the post-revolutionary period in his country. The winner of fifteen international awards, Makhmalbaf has produced some 20 short and feature length films, most of which have been shown at several film festivals around the world. 

Available Films by Makhmalbaf (on video/DVD)
In Farsi with English Subtitles 
1.   Stardust Stricken - 1996
2.   Boycott - 1985
3.   Dastforoush (Peddler) -1987
4.   Bicyclerun (Cyclist) - 1987
5.   Marriage of the Blessed - 1989
6.   Shabhaye Zayande Rood - 1991
7.   Once Upong a Time, Cinema - 1992
8.   Images From the Ghajar Dynasty - 1993
9.   Honarpishe (Actor) - 1993
10. Salam Cinema - 1995
11. Nun va Goldun (Moment of Innocence) - 1996
12. Gabbeh - 1996
13. Close-up - 1990
14. Silence - 1988 
15. Kandahar Journey - 2001
16. The Day I Became a Woman - 2000 

Following Films Are Now Available on Video & DVD (NTSC & PAL):

Boycott   [Go Top]

Iran 1985. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 85 mins.

Set in the years before Iran's 1979 revolution, Makhmalbaf's The Boycott is the story of a young anti-Shah activist who forsakes his family for the cause of leftist politics. His arrest by the Shah's secret police imposes great hardship on his wife, and his new acquaintance with Muslim opponents of the regime eventually leads him to rethink his ideology. "Makhmalbaf's political aim of attacking a soulless, atheistic left is uppermost in the story" (Deborah Young, International Film Guide). The director's follow-up film was The Peddler, which marked a creative turning point in his career, and proved to be his international breakthrough. 

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Peddler (dastforoush[Go Top]

Iran 1987. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 95 mins.

This disturbing and delirious anti-humanist feature was the film that first exposed Mohsen Makhmalbaf to Western viewers -- and one could almost hear the jaws dropping, the eyes popping, and the minds blowing.  The Peddler is a trilogy of stories set amongst the urban poor of modern Tehran, and centered on the cycle of birth, life and death. Each segment was shot in a different style, by a different cinematographer. The first, based upon a story by Alberto Moravia, is a wrenching, blackly comic tale of a destitute couple's attempts to have their newborn daughter adopted. The surreal, sinisterly funny second story tells of an unstable young man living alone with his wizened old mother. The inventive final episode, told from the paranoid point-of- view of a scared-to-death peddler, draws on the conventions of American gangster films. Makhmalbaf has described The Peddler as "a pictorial expression of my views on man's existential situation. . Special Offer:  $29.95   $17.95

Cyclist (bicyclerun[Go Top]

Iran 1989. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 75 mins.

A riveting follow-up to The Peddler, his breakthrough work, and continuing in the same vein of existential allegory mixed with social critique, The Cyclist "confirmed Makhmalbaf's unique ability to turn a grotesque subject into a rich and fertile film which teases the brain while pulling on the heartstrings" . The cyclist of the title is Nassim, an Afghan refugee in need of money to pay his wife's medical expenses. With work difficult to come by, a sleazy promoter suggests he undertake a bicycle marathon. Touting him as the Afghani superman, the huckster wagers that Nassim will circle a small area on the outskirts of town, day and night, for a week. While he rides, a carnival of society's dispossessed grows alongside the desperate cyclist. Gamblers, bookies, buskers, food vendors, and leprous walkers watch from the sidelines, cynically using Nassim's suffering for their own purposes". "With intense and profoundly affecting films like The Peddler and The Cyclist to his credit, director Mohsen Makhmalbaf has to be considered a major talent in the world of cinema" (Vancouver I.F.F.)

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Marriage of the Blessed (Aroosie Khooban)   [Go Top]

Iran 1989. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 75 mins.

"The cinematic flair which distinguished The Peddler and The Cyclist is stretched to new heights in Marriage of the Blessed".  Makhmalbaf's controversial take on the Iran-Iraq war concerns a shell-shocked veteran struggling to readjust to civilian life. Haji (Mahmud Bigham), the recently discharged protagonist, is a photojournalist engaged to the daughter of a wealthy family. Tormented by nightmarish visions of his time at the front, obsessed with famine in Africa and the chaos in Lebanon, and unable to cope with the everyday indifference to poverty and injustice on the streets of Tehran, he hurtles towards another mental breakdown as his wedding approaches. "Makhmalbaf is nothing if not ambitious in the thematic and visual aspects of Marriage of the Blessed: shot in colour and black-and-white, with neo-realist scenes of the seedy side of Tehran juxtaposed against hallucinatory scenes of Haji's memories and nightmares, Makhmalbaf is. . . . The film, a kind of Iranian Born on the Fourth of July, elicited conflicting critical reaction in Tehran. Some considered it an anti-war, and even an anti-Islamic revolution film, while others viewed it as an elegy to a generation that suffered while others profited from the war. There is no question that it is a profoundly shocking portrayal of a man traumatized by the horrors of modern warfare"

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Once upon a time cinema (Naseredin Shah Actore Cinema[Go Top]

Iran 1992. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Cast: Ezzatollah Entezami, Mehdi Hashemi, Akbar Abdi. Colour, in Farsi with English subtitles. 100 mins..

Makhmalbaf's "love letter to the Iranian cinema" is a free-for-all fantasia in the mode of Buster Keaton's Sherlock Junior or Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo, in which "characters jump in and out of cameras, projectors and screens, time goes backward and forward in melancholy leaps and actors appear in multiple roles".  At the dawn of the 20th century, a Chaplin- like character known as the Cinematographer introduces the magic of movies to the Iranian court. The pompous Shah, who has 84 wives and 200 children, is dead-set against the pernicious influence of movies, but at the sight of his first film he falls madly in love with its damsel-in-distress heroine, and resolves to give up his kingdom and become an actor. Makhmalbaf has described the work as a "1001 Arabian Nights" of Iranian film history, and he pays fond tribute to his nation's cinema by seamlessly and inventively weaving myriad clips from classic Iranian movies into the screwball narrative. The film won major awards at the Karlovy Vary, Istanbul and Taormina festivals. "Once Upon a Time, Cinema almost defies description as the complexity and imagination Makhmalbaf brings to it produce a dazzling visual rollercoaster on which to sweep the viewer along. . . [a memorable] cinematic fairy tale" (Sheila Whitaker, London Film Festival). 

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Images from the Ghajar Dynasty (Gozideh Tasvir Dar Doran-e Ghajar[Go Top]

Iran 1996. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 18 mins.

A documentary short exploring visual works from the Ghajar Dynasty of a century ago, including the first photography and cinematography shot in Iran. 

The school blown away by the wind  

Iran 1996. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 8 mins.

The school for nomad childen seen in GABBEH is the subject of this heartwarming short film. It begins as an old man enters the improvised classroom. The teacher thinks the visitor might be an inspector, so he allows him to question the children...

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Actor (Honarpisheh[Go Top]

Iran 1993. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 88 mins.

In his feature follow up to Once Upon a Time, Cinema, Mohsen Makhmalbaf continues the cinematic horseplay with a "contemporary, semitragic farce about a burly film actor who wants to play only in art films but is forced by his family's economic demands to act in a string of trashy commercial movies. . . [The Actor] is a comic allegory about the rift between traditional and contemporary Iran, in which class differences and cultural differences are equally pertinent" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). 

Special Offer:  $29.95   $17.95

Salaam Cinema (Salaam Cinema[Go Top]

Iran 1995. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with NO subtitles. 75 mins.

Proof positive that revolutionary Iran is as movie-mad as anywhere else in the world -- and that filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf is just a wee bit of a misanthrope -- the sly and subversive Salaam Cinema was intended as the director's tribute to cinema's 100th birthday, and was one of the great revelations of the international festival circuit in 1995. Trickster Makhmalbaf placed an ad in a Tehran newspaper, inviting people to addition for his latest project. Thousands of people heeded his "cattle call" -- precipitating the rather alarming riot which opens Salaam Cinema. Makhmalbaf then proceeded to film the "auditions" of dozens of these hopefuls, many of whom are convinced that they bear an uncanny resemblance to Paul Newman or Marilyn Monroe, or that their obvious abundance of talent will soon have them jetting off to Cannes. These supposed "screen tests" became the stuff of Makhmalbaf's frequently edgy film, with the director often badgering, hectoring and provoking his aspiring actors, insisting that they cry on demand or leave, asking them to sing a song or mime a melodramatic death, or simply getting them to talk about their lives. The results are sometimes charming, sometimes cruel, but always absolutely fascinating -- Special Offer:  $29.95   $15.95

Moments of innocence (Noon va Goldoon)   [Go Top]

Iran 1996. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 75 mins.

Fact meets fiction in the most intriguing fashion in this Mohsen Makhmalbaf's film . This captivating followup to his acclaimed Salaam Cinema (1995), which told the stories of ordinary Iranians who want to become movie stars, is based on an incident from the Iranian screenwriter and director's youth. At age 17-while a member of an anti-Shah militant group-Makhmalbaf attacked a policeman in an attempt to steal his gun. He stabbed the officer with a knife and took a bullet in return. The policeman went to the hospital; Makhmalbaf went to a torture chamber hosted by the dreaded SAVAK secret police. He stayed there until the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Twenty years later, the filmmaker placed an ad in the paper to recruit actors for Salaam Cinema. The same wounded officer responded to the ad. In A Moment of Innocence, the victim and the assailant both get the chance to tell their side of the story. In the process, they exorcise the demons of their past while examining how film and memory shape our perceptions. The result ha s been hailed as a sly, witty film with a script honed to razor sharpness and carefully hewn characters. 

Special Offer:  $29.95   $15.95

Gabbeh  [Go Top]

Iran 1996. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 75 mins.

The tale of a young woman's rebellious love for a horseman, Gabbeh is pure "magical surrealism, an alchemy that weaves the passion of a fairy-tale courtship into the very thread of film art. . . The most otherworldly film at Cannes [and] also the most exquisite" (Mary Corliss, Film Comment). "Gabbeh adds yet another jewel to the crown of recent Iranian cinema. . . [It] unfolds imagery so startling and beautiful that it will keep viewers rapt even when the narrative tantalizes with poetic opacity . . . full of a master's unerring confidence. . . [it confirms Makhmalbaf's] reputation as filmmaker of remarkable daring and sensitivity" 

Special Offer:  $17.95

Stardust Stricken (, Zendegi & Asare Makhmalbaf) [Go Top]

Iran 1996. Director: Houshang Gholamkhani. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 70 mins.

A profile of the energetic and idiosyncratic Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and a journey through his unruly body of work. Directed by Houshang Golmakani, editor of Film Monthly, Iran's oldest and most important film magazine, Stardust Stricken captures Makhmalbaf at home and on the set of his films, including the Salaam Cinema and Gabbeh. It also includes a conversation between Makhmalbaf and German director Werner Herzog (himself the subject of a Pacific Ciṇmath¦que retrospective in 1996). Stardust Stricken is dedicated to Makhmalbaf's late wife and children, who died several years ago in a house fire. 

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Close-up (Namaye-e Nazdik[Go Top]

Iran 1990. Director: Abbas Kia-rostamii. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 100 mins.

Based on real events, Close-up tells the story of Ali Sabzian, an unemployed, recently divorced young film buff, who assumes the identity of the famous real-life Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf , and enters the life of a wealthy family to make a film with them. Through a series of tragi-comic events, the father starts investigating. Within a few days, the imposter is arrested. At this point, Kiarostami and his crew enter the story to film Sabzian's trial... The result is a masterpiece about the mechanism of and the relationship between cinema and the viewer, filmmaking and acting, reality and fiction. 

Special Offer:  $29.95   $17.95

The Silence (Sokoot[Go Top]

Iran 1998. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbafi. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 75 mins.

In this poetic feature from one of Iran's greatest directors, a 10-year-old blind boy travels to the market each day, where he works as a musical instrument tuner. The boy's gift for sound extends well beyond this duty, as he hears the music of life all around him. "Makhmalbaf crafts the boy's world as a flip-book of gorgeous, lyrical images...Makhmalbaf sees audiovisual magic as an alloy, which stretches the bounds of the naturalism he is using in the name of a purely sensory experience" (Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner). In Farsi with English subtitles.

Special Offer:  $49.95   $17.95 

Kandehar Journey (Safar-e Ghandehar[Go Top]

Iran 2001. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbafi. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 85 mins.

Nafas is a young Afghan journalist who has taken refuge in Canada. She receives a desperate letter from her little sister, who has stayed behind in Afghanistan and has decided to end her life before the imminently approaching eclipse of the sun. Nafas fled her country during the Taliban civil war. She decides to go and help her sister in Kandahar and attempts to cross the Iran – Afghanistan border

Special Sale Price:    $14.95 video 

The Day I Became A Woman (Roozi ke zan shodam[Go Top]

Iran 2000. Written by: Mohsen Makhmalbafi. Directed by: Marziyeh Meshkini, in Farsi with English subtitles. 85 mins.

The stories of three women enslaved by love in Iran. On the morning of the day she turns 9, Havva is kept from joining her friends to play outside of the house. She is warned by her mother and grandmother that she has become a woman  ....

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