Saturday, June 24, 2017

Delhoreh / Anxiety

Delhoreh. Abdollah Bootimar (Behrooz Niknejad).

دلهره / Horror. Italian Title: [Angoscia]. Director: Samuel Khachikian. Year: 1962. Country: Iran. Farsi version with English subtitles. Section: Tehran Noir: The Thrillers of Samuel Khachikian.
    M.: Samuel Khachikian, F.: Ghodratollah Ehsani. Scgf.: Hassan Paknejad. Int.: Irene (Roshanak Niknejad), Abdollah Bootimar (Behrooz Niknejad), Arman (Jamsheed), Shandermani (Babak), Haleh (Fetneh), Reza Beik Imanverdi (l’assassino con il coltello). Prod.: Azhir Film Studio. DCP. D.: 113’.
    From: National Film Archive of Iran.
    Digitized: in 2017 at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory
    Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna.
    Introduce: Ehsan Khoshbakht.
    DCP with English subtitles. E-subtitles in Italian by Sub-Ti Londra. Cinema Jolly, 24 June 2017

Ehsan Khoshbakht (Il Cinema Ritrovato): "After the success of Toofan Dar Shahr-e Ma, which saw the newly established Azhir Film make a significant profit, Khachikian became unhappy with his partners’ spending decisions. Instead of supporting the production of his projects, they invested in a dubbing facility for the studio, so as to import foreign films. Feeling betrayed, Khachikian left the studio and lent his talents to the infamous producer Mehdi Misaqiye, for whom he achieved success with Faryad-e Nime-shab. After various incidents, all of which concerned Misaqiye’s interference and taking of undue credit, Khachikian, disillusioned once again, returned to Azhir Film. He then made two films back to back, which became the studio’s biggest hits: Delhoreh and Zarbat."

"A tense story of deceit, blackmail, and murder (with a nod to Les Diaboliques), Delhoreh engaged audiences in a way no other Iranian film had done before. Khachikian creates a unique world, by turns familiar and unfamiliar, mapping the features of an ever-changing country (with some fabrications): the emergence of a new bourgeoisie with their maids, American cars, subscription magazines, western music, houses with staircases (as opposed to traditional flat houses) and the presence of modern architecture and impressive government buildings. Khachikian was so meticulous in creating this new world that even the Persian language didn’t satisfy him – he considered it sluggish. Dialogue scenes were shot at 22 fps (instead of 24 fps) to give them the pace they lacked!"

"By this point in his career, one also has a clearer sense of the way in which Khachikian develops his stories: a dramatic, tightly edited opening; a documentary style tour of Tehran in the middle, abruptly interrupted by a violent incident. Sound is the main means of transitioning between scenes, characters are derived, even in their appearance, from American films and a strong-willed women is introduced as an alternative to the stereotypical depiction of women in Iranian cinema." Ehsan Khoshbakht, Il Cinema Ritrovato

AA: An Iranian entertainment film with lurid pulp energy. Blunt, unrefined, rough, yet with cinematic excitement and fun with thriller conventions. A shrill, overdone score carries us through the fast-moving plot in which there are affinities with The Spiral Staircase and Les Diaboliques. Delhoreh is unsophisticated but with good action sequences, including impressive judo moves.

It is interesting to observe sensual femininity in an Iranian film, considerable charms that have been hidden in Iranian films since 1979.

Ehsan Khoshbakht told us that this film has not been seen in Iran since 1979 and probably never outside Iran. From a film believed lost, a viewing copy has been prepared from sources not in great condition. Delhoreh shows us a Tehran going through modernization. Themes include those of infidelity, a double identity, and blackmail, as Khoshbakht pointed out.

From difficult sources a watchable DCP has been produced.

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