Black and White

Siyah va Sepid

IRAN / 1972 / Persian / B&W / Digital File (Original: 35mm) / 4 min

Director, Writer: Sohrab Shahid Saless
Plot: Azadeh Abbasifar
Photography: Mehrdad Fakhimi
Cast: Saeed Zehni, Habibollah Akbariani, Jafar Zehni
Production Company, Source: Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children & Young Adults (Kanoon)

Sohrab Shahid Saless’s experimental film made for Kanoon in 1972. This short, stop motion film follows black and white figures moving freely within the frame. The symmetrical style of contrasting monotones is brimming with originality and makes for a lively and active energy in the film.

A Simple Event

Yek Ettefagh-e Sade

IRAN / 1973 / Persian / Color / DCP (Original: 35mm) / 80 min

Director: Sohrab Shahid Saless
Scriptwriters: Omid Roohani, Sohrab Shahid Saless
Photography: Naghi Masoumi
Editing: Kazem Rajinia
Cast: Mohammed Zamani, Ane Mohammad Tarikhi, Hibibollah Safarian, Hedayatollah Navid
Production Company: Ministry of Culture and Art
Source: National Film Archive of Iran

Set in the northern Iranian town of Bandar Shah, Shahid Saless’s first feature-length fiction film follows the life of a young boy living with his alcoholic father and ailing mother. Often late to class from helping with his father’s fish-poaching and caring for his mother, he also cannot play with his friends after school, having to take extra lessons with his teacher. His mother soon passes away, and the mourning young boy and his father’s life continues as before. This careful portrayal of a boy’s harrowing “ordinary” life is given a vivid treatment full of fixed camera long shots and long takes and was met with worldwide acclaim.

Still Life

Tabiat-e Bijan

IRAN / 1975 / Persian / Color / Digital File (Original: 35mm) / 94 min

Director, Scriptwriter: Sohrab Shahid Saless
Photography: Hooshang Baharloo
Editing: R. Emami
Art Directors: Morteza Momayez, Hooshang Baharloo
Cast: Z. Bonyadi, Z. Yazdani, H. Safarian
Producer: Parviz Sayyad
Production Companies: The Progressive Filmmaker’s Cooperative, Telfilm
Source: Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Shahid Saless’s second feature-length fiction film follows an old man working for the rail service, living at the railway crossing to help in its operation. He is suddenly forced into retirement, and into giving up the home he lives in—for his younger replacement at the rail service. Filmed on location over eleven days, this realistic portrayal, using amateur actors and without music in long takes and long shots from a fixed camera captures the serene “still life” of an elderly couple, and took the Silver Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival. While the film opened to great popularity among audiences in Iran, the director could not obtain permission to film his next one, and he left for Germany, never to make another film in his home country again. This work, along with A Simple Event, left a strong influence on filmmakers to come, and is a classic work of the Iranian New Wave.