Mohammad Reza Aslani

Scen.: Mohammad Reza Aslani. F.: Houshang Baharlou. M.: Abbas Ganjavi. Scgf.: Houri Etesam. Mus.: Sheyda Gharachedaghi. Int.: Fakhri Khorvash, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Shahram Golchin, Mohamad Ali Keshavarz, Hamid Taati, Akbar Zanjanpour. Prod.: Bahman Farmanara per Sherkat-e Gostaresh-e Sanaye Cinema-e. DCP. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Shatranj-e Baad might be one of the most emblematic films in the history of Iranian cinema, even though its visibility was limited to a disastrous preview at Tehran International Film Festival in 1976. Due to an artistic conflict between Aslani and the festival curator, the projection was sabotaged, its reels were disrupted and projector malfunctioned. The critics walked out during the screening, as did the jury who pulled the film out of the competition. Instantly deemed elitist, the film was refused by all the distributors. Discouraged, the producer didn’t bother sending the film to the international festivals. In subsequent private showings, Henri Langlois, Roberto Rossellini and Satyajit Ray had the opportunity to see the film in proper condition and congratulated the young director. After that, Shatranj- e Baad, was never screened again. Following the establishment of the Islamic government in 1979, the film was banned because of its non-Islamic content and the reels were subsequently declared lost. There was only a censored VHS, of very poor quality, circulating through informal channels. Although the film rested in obscurity for a long time, its aesthetic value was rediscovered in 2000 by a new generation of critics and cinéphiles who classed it as one of Iran’s lost cinematic masterpieces. Shatranj-e Baad is a singular film, at the confluence of the aesthetics of Visconti and Bresson. The influence of painting can be found in each shot and the careful screenplay toys with multiple plot twists. It was only in 2015 that Aslani found the negatives of Shatranj-e Baad, quite by chance at a flea-market for vintage film costumes and accessories. He bought the reels and immediately sent them to France where they could safely be restored. Now we can fully rediscover all the originality and modernity of this fascinating film, which has spent almost 45 years in the shadows.

Gita Aslani Shahrestani

Copy From

Restored in 4K in 2020 by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna from the original 35mm camera and sound negatives at L’Image Retrouvée laboratory (Paris) in collaboration with Mohammad Reza and Gita Aslani, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation