Year: I976

Director: Mohammad Reza Aslani

Running Time: 98 minutes

Farsi with English subtitles. Introduction by Gita Aslani Shahrestani.

Cast: Mohammad Ali Keshavarz, Fakhri Khorvash, Shohreh Aghdashlou, Akbar Zanjanpour, Shahram Golchin, Hamid Ta’ati, Aghajan Rafii, Anik Shefrazian

CHESS OF THE WIND is set in a feudal mansion in 1920s Iran after the death of the family matriarch. What unfolds is a tussle for control between the various family members and family retainers for power over the fortune left behind.

Denounced at its premier for its critique of social stratification, and banned for its representations of women and homosexuality by the coming of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, CHESS OF THE WIND disappeared from view and was considered lost until reels were discovered in a Tehran junk shop by the director’s son. It was restored by the World Cinema Project.

‘Melding the influences of European modernism, gothic horror, and classical Persian art, Mohammad Reza Aslani crafts an exquisitely restrained mood piece that erupts into a subversive final act in which class conventions, gender roles, and time itself are upended with shocking ferocity.’ – Criterion Collection
‘I think this film will have an impact on the world film canon – its ambition on so many different levels is extraordinary. It has a resonance far beyond an Iranian cinema niche. I found it genuinely shocking at times. I think it will confound so many people’s expectations not only of the cinema, but also of the culture of Iran. I can confidently say that audiences won’t have seen anything quite like this, no matter what their taste in cinema.’ – Robin Baker. Curator, BFI National Archive.
Presented by The Heong Gallery is association with Panorama: The Journal of Travel, Place, and Nature.

With thanks to the Cineteca Bologna