by
 Claude Lelouch 1971

Far more than a travelogue with pretty pictures, this little-known film won six international awards shortly after its release. ‘Iran’ consists of spectacular geographical and archaeological footage interspersed with “slice of life” shots, evidencing best juxtapositional editing we’ve ever seen. This is a buried masterpiece from the director of ‘A Man and a Woman,’ ‘Happy New Year,’ and ‘And Now My Love.’ Lelouch reportedly shot six miles of footage to make this film, which apparently was sponsored by a multinational petroleum pipeline construction firm, as a gift to the Shah’s wife. One guesses that international dissatisfaction with the excesses of the Pahlevi regime negatively affected the distribution of the film, a shame, because few films treating similar themes are its equal. The musical score by Francis Lai is a priceless timepiece, resplendent with heavy early-70s euro-pop wah-wah guitar. An intriguing, beautifully crafted, and dynamic film, this visual poem transcends the didactic.

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