For two weeks, from 29 October to 11 November, NYC audiences will be able to rediscover a long-lost Iranian film by Mohammad Reza Aslani. The filmmaker-slash-poet is known mostly for his experimental films and documentaries. Chess of the Wind won't disappoint with its gothic genre influences.
Chess of the Wind presents an astonishing work of pre-revolution New Wave Iranian cinema featuring Oscar-nominated Shohreh Aghdashloo, and will run at Film Forum in a new 4K restoration from Friday, October 29 to Thursday, November 11 via Janus Films.
In an ornate, candlelit mansion in 1920s Tehran, the heirs to a family fortune vie for control of their matriarch’s estate — erupting in a ferocious final act.
When the film screened at the BFI London FF last year, after being rediscovered by Aslani's children in a junk shop, it was written in The Guardian: “The opulent, claustrophobic interiors are reminiscent of Persian miniatures… The influence of European cinematic masters like Pasolini, Visconti and Bresson is also apparent. The sound design also stands out: wolves howl and dogs bay as they circle the house, ratcheting up the sense of menace; crows caw, jangling the nerves; heavy breathing makes the characters’ isolation in this haunted house increasingly oppressive. The soundtrack — an early work by trailblazing female composer Sheyda Gharachedaghi — takes inspiration from traditional Iranian music, and sounds like demented jazz.”
Chess of the Wind screened publicly just three times before it was banned by Iran’s new revolutionary government and then lost for decades – until the original negative was discovered by the director’s children and restored under the auspices of Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project. The restoration had its world premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, then was featured at the New York Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival.
Restored in 4K in 2020 by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Image Retrouvée laboratory (Paris) in collaboration with Mohammad Reza Aslani and Gita Aslani Shahrestani. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.