Chess of the Wind
Director: Mohammad Reza Aslani Run Time: 100 min. Format: DCP Release Year: 1976 Language: Persian (Farsi)
Starring: Akbar Zanjanpour, Fakhri Khorvash, Mohamad Ali Keshavarz, Shoreh Aghdashloo
Screened publicly just once before it was banned and then lost for decades, this rediscovered jewel of Iranian cinema reemerges to take its place as one of the most singular and astonishing works of the country’s pre-revolution New Wave. A hypnotically stylized murder mystery awash in shivery period atmosphere, CHESS OF THE WIND unfolds in an ornate, candlelit mansion where a web of greed, violence, and betrayal ensnares the heirs to a family fortune as they vie for control of their recently-deceased matriarch’s estate. Melding the influences of European modernism, gothic horror, and classical Persian art, director Mohammad Reza Aslani crafts an exquisitely controlled mood piece that erupts in a stunningly subversive final act in which class conventions, gender roles, and even time itself are upended with shocking ferocity. – Janus Films
“Seldom do we see a cinematic resurrection as astonishing and impressive as that of Mohammad Reza Aslani’s CHESS OF THE WIND… Even measured against the Iranian and international cinematic treasures of the ‘70s, Aslani’s vision is still breathtakingly distinctive, an incisively devastating social critique embedded in a complex tale of intrigue, greed, oppression, and murder. The film is also, and perhaps most strikingly, a stylistic tour de force.” – Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com
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