Jolly Cinema > 09:00


Bahram Beyzaie


Saturday 01/07/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Another holy grail of Cinema-ye Motafavet (Iranian New Wave) has been found and brought back to life. Impossible to see for decades, Bahram Beyzaie’s dazzling Gharibeh va meh, about a mysterious stranger arriving at a coastal village in a drifting boat and falling for a woman, is now fully restored from original camera and sound negatives.
In this endlessly symbolic tale, ghosts of the past, narrow-minded villagers and forces beyond the control of the characters take the viewer into a dizzying labyrinth of rituals. In the film’s meticulously structured circular narrative, characters, times and spaces rhyme and mirror each other, turning filmmaking into an act of dreaming. Gharibeh va meh and later Cherike-ye Tara represent one of the strongest duos of Iranian cinema; in both, characters are the product of each other’s imagination before transitioning into myth. They also share the mysteries of the sea, the use of pre-existing folk music instead of a musical score, the presence of myth and symbolism, heavy influence from Persian classical theatre and literature, and giving prominence (in terms of both attention/desire and control) to strong-willed women who transcend the confines of the victimised women of 1970s Iranian cinema.

Ehsan Khoshbakht


Gharibeh va meh, or at least some of its most essential images came right out of my nightmares. I realised the fear that was tormenting me in Iranian society was now growing even bigger within me. The critics’ reading and interpretation of the film after its premiere at Tehran International Film Festival proved that my fears were right. Gharibeh va meh was a warning about an impending danger that people were either oblivious to, or chose to stay ignorant of. They saw the signs of the looming threats adressed in the film but opted to attack the film and label it as “incomprehensible” and “anti-religious”.
However, I was moved when the same message, seemingly undecipherable for Iranian critics, was so clear to a writer from either “Films and Filming” or “Sight & Sound” who wrote a dispatch on the festival. I can’t recall his exact words, but the core of his argument was that Gharibeh va meh was a premonition of things to come, and the director/ writer is “five years ahead of his time”. What shakes me today is how did the writer know what was going to happen in Iran five years after the film’s completion? Of course, it was the regressive Iranian Revolution.
Ironically, while Gharibeh va meh was called a “baffling and anti-Islam” film by Iranian intellectuals, it was screened, without my permission, at a conference about Islam in London. In fact, Gharibeh va meh is a rejection of both accusations: a rejection of intellectualism and religion.

Bahram Beyzaie

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Bahram Beyzaie. F.: Mehrdad Fakhimi, Firooz Malekzadeh. M.: Bahram Beyzaie. Scgf.: Iraj Raminfar. Int.: Parvaneh Massoumi (Rana), Khosrow Shojazadeh (Ayat), Manuchehr Farid (Zackaria), Esmat Safavi (Jeyran), Sami Tahassoni, Valiyollah Shirandami, Reza Yaghuti, Esmaeel Poor Rez, Mohammad Pour Reza. Prod.: Rex Cinema and Theatre Co. DCP. D.: 140’. Col.