This film is best understood after watching Albert Lamorisse's Baadeh Sabah, an ostentatious propaganda film of the same commission that was originally rejected for it's inadequate portrayal of Iran's nouveau-modernism (urban youth, industrial marvels) and it's overly-lyrical style. In LeLouche's rendition, there are no such inadequacies. The focus is on culture - heritage, modernity and (what soon would be named) Westernization. Past and present meet - veils and miniskirts, camels and helicopters, remains of ancient Persia, the highlights of Islamic art, caviar and the oil fields and gas pumps. The Shah looks good in white turtlenecks and Farah Diba is seen in the Farah Diba hairstyle. This charming couple didn't copy Europan royalty, rather appeared as an Eastern equivalent to Mr. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy - Pax Americana had succeeded Rule Britannia. The Pahlavi dynasty was a young one, but here the Shah is depicted as the modern link in an old tradition. Many emperors have used this trick to establish a dynasty, or at least their own position. By this time the picture of Iran was changing. There was more talk of political refugees than of hairstyles. Some years passed. Came the the Islamic revolution, and Westernization was banned. Very soon it was about good or evil, black or white. This film has the quality of being both entertaining and evoking the big question of our time.
Baadeh Sabah / The Lovers' Wind / Vent Des Amoureux, by Albert Lamorisse
Shot 1970, completed posthumously 1978, 35mm
"A well- known French filmmaker, Albert Lamorisse, under the auspices of Iran's Ministry of Culture and Art, produced the poetic film "Lovers' Wind" (1969). Eighty-five percent of this dramatically visual film is shot from a helicopter, providing a kaleidoscopic view of the vast expanses, natural beauty, historical monuments, cities and villages of Iran. The "narrators" of the film are the various winds (the warm, crimson, evil and lovers' winds), which according to folklore, inhabit Iran. They sweep the viewers from place to place across the Iranian landscape, introducing the incredible variety of life and scenery in Iran. The camera, defying gravity, with smoothness and agility, provides a bird's eye view, caressing minarets and domes, peeking over mountain tops beyond, gliding over remote villages to reveal the life enclosed within the high mud-brick walls, bouncing along with the local wildlife, following the rhythmic, sinuous flow of the oil pipelines and train tracks, and hovering over the mirror-like mosaic of the rice paddies that reflect the clouds and sky. The film is a testimonial to the Iranian landscape and people over which so many dynasties and kings have ruled and have, in turn, passed away. Ironically, on the tenth anniversary of the completion of the film, yet another seemingly powerful dynasty (Pahlavi) has fallen, leaving, as the film points out, the land and the migrating tribal nomads who have survived more or less intact for centuries. Upon completion of the film, the Ministry of Culture and Art decided that Lamorisse had not sufficiently emphasized the industrialization of Iran. So he was called back to film additional sequences documenting that progress. This task was never completed, because the helicopter crashed while filming the Karaj Dam near Tehran, plunging Lamorisse and his crew to their deaths. This film, whose storybrook style of narration is often contrived, does not purport to be a social document on Iran; nevertheless, it has never been shown publicly in theaters in Iran." -- Hamid Naficy
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