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Rezvani Revisited


Cyrus Bassiak aka Serge Rezvani's music Repertoire inspires Belgian Singer Helena Noguerra


Darius KADIVAR reports from Europe


© & photocompostion DK


"L'honneur nourrit les arts, et la Muse demande
Le theatre du peuple et la faveur des Roys."
DU BELLAY (Joachim), Les regrets (1558) - Born in Iran in 1928 to an Iranian father and Russian mother, Serge Rezvani was a painter for the 20 first years of his artistic activity. He exposes from 1946 to 1996 in different galleries in Paris (Maeght, Arnaud, Durand, Berggrüenn) and London at Hanover Gallery.

In 1960 he leaves Paris with his wife Daniele Lula -Woman of his life and the center of his artistic work- and settles in Garde-Freinet where he lives as well as Venice where he spends most of the year writing.


Cyrus Bassiak aka Serge Rezvani signed two major New Wave Cinema Music
© & photocompostion DK


In the Sixties he adopts a nickname "Cyrus Bassiak" and starts writing songs ( lyrics and music ) for two major films of the French New Wave Cinema. François Truffaut asks him to write the now classic song " Le tourbillon " (made popular by french actress Jeanne Moreau) for his film "Jules and Jim" starring Oskar Werner, Henri Serre and Jeanne Moreau and in which Rezvani appears in a cameo role. Truffaut's friend and rival Jean-Luc Goddard also asks him to compose the songs of " Pierrot le fou " which starred Jean Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina. Thus Rezvani becomes despite himself the composer of the Nouvelle Vague or French New Wave Cinema under the pseudonym Cyrus Bassiak ( sometimes credited as Boris Bassiak).

However Rezvani gained fame with his true name as a major French author of the 70's with two autobiographies " Les années-lumiere " (1967) and " Les années Lula " (1968), " Coma ", " Les Américanoïaques " and " La voie de l'Amérique ", three novels published in 1970. " Mille aujourd'hui ", "Foukouli " (1974) and "Feu" are novels focused on his relation with his loved wife.



Anna Karina Muse of French New Wave director Jean Luc Goddard
© & photocompostion DK

Having lived most of his life in France, Rezvani's work is essentially influenced by his country of adoption, nevertheless he did offer a new interesting translation of Khayyam's Rubayyat and his love of poetry does have a romantic echo from his Persian and Russian roots. He was also for some short time drawn towards political activism in France along with other Iranian expats in opposition to the Shah's regime. This led him to write the play " Le camp du drap d'or " in the form of  a political satire mocking the Shah of Iran's Persepolis Celebrations and which was performed at the Festival of Avignon in 1971. In retrospective this was quite a mediocre play motivated by a rather vague knowledge of the political situation in Iran that misled so many progressive but at times naive intellectuals in the West such as Jean Paul Sartre or
Philosopher Michel Foucault to morally support Ayatollah Khomeiny Islamic Revolution.


It would be wrong and unjust to reduce Rezvani's opinions of the time or even his literary work to an insignificant play as " Le camp du drap d'or " for he has never been truly a political thinker nor claimed to be one and his early shy support for the Revolution was neither motivated by any sort of Religious sympathy or conviction. His life and work were for a good part inspired by his lifelong muse and beautiful French wife Daniele known under the nickname Lula.


Rezvani has been a favorite Poet over the years to many female French Stars such as Marie Christine Barrault, Mona Heftre,
 Vanessa Paradis, Anna Karina Jeanne Moreau, and now Helena Noguerra © & photocompostion DK


In  the 80's he contunued to explore this harmonious relationship with other essays like " Le testament amoureux " (1981), ), " La loi humaine " (1983). Combining his talents as a painter  (his works were exhibited at the Maeght Gallery and has work in the collection of the presidential palace, the Elysée.) and art critic he published many books and articles in regard to the History of Art  as well as in relation to the Theater.

The death of his wife in 2005 after struggling for 10 years from Alzheimers was a great blow to him both as a man and husband. He fortunately overcame his depression thanks to a newfound love in the person of French-Corsican actress
Marie Joé Nat which he eventually married.


At 80 Serge Rezvani is no more in the Shadow of Cyrus Bassiak. Helena Noguerra revisits his songs in latest album Fraise-Vanille © & photocompostion DK


At Age 80 he seems as active and enthusiastic about the young generation of singers like Vanessa Paradis, and more recently Belgian singer/actress Helena Noguerra who are revisiting his music repertoire and reviving some of the most emblematic music scores of the French New Wave Cinema of the 1960's.



New Beginning at 80 with new love actress
Marie-Josée Nat © Photos Francis Vernhet/Chorus


Rezvani remains an interesting and touching icon in the arena of French Poetry whose love and respect for beauty and women seems to grow stronger and deeper as years go by ...






Authors Notes:


Helena Noguerra's latest album Fraise Vanille.


Rezvani's books available on


Rezvani's songs and music available on


Recommended Viewing & Listening :


Interview of Helena Noguerra and Rezvani on French TV (youtube)


Jules et Jim (1962):


Cyrus ( Boris)  Bassiak aka Serge Rezvani plays guitar in cameo role in Francois Truffaut's film Jules et Jim (1962) starring Jeanne Moreau ( Singer Le Tourbillon), Oskar Werner and Henri Serre.


See Youtube


Pierrot Le Fou (1965):


Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo singing Ma Ligne de Chance on Rezvani's lyrics in Jean Luc Goddard's Pierrot Le Fou.


See Youtube



Recommended Readings:


On Rezvani:


The man at the heart of a village arts festival by Mary Blume (IHT)


Iranian Pioneers in French Cinema by Darius KADIVAR


Iran-France Cinema:


Persepolis Tops French Box Office Record! by Darius KADIVAR

Persepolis to Represent France at Hollywood Oscars 2008! by Darius KADIVAR

Persepolis Nominated for European Oscars! by Darius KADIVAR


Magic in the Making: Satrapi's Persepolis Cast by Darius KADIVAR


Persepolis' Road to the Oscars by Darius KADIVAR

US Cast for Persepolis Announced by Darius KADIVAR


Fereydoun Hoveyda A Class Apart by Darius KADIVAR


Anicée (Alvina) Shahmanesh Sex Icon of French Cinema by Darius KADIVAR


An Independent Eye: Producer/Distributor Hengameh Panahi by Darius KADIVAR

Legendary Film Critic Jean-Claude Carriere and Wife Nahal Tajadod Chants Djalal-e-Din Mohammad Molavi Rumi by Darius KADIVAR

Secret Lives: Maya Sansa and Moritz Bleibtreu join French All Star Cast in WWII Epic
by Darius KADIVAR



About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant.

... Payvand News - 03/03/08 ... --

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