Marriage of the Blessed - 1989
Directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Haji, a photo-journalist and Iran-Iraq war veteran, is physically and emotionally scarred from his experience at the front and struggles to conform into a society in which the ideals of the revolution have given way to moral bankruptcy, drug abuse and poverty.
Color, 1 hour 10 minutes, Farsi
Original Title: Arusi-ye Khuban
Watch Scene (Farsi w/English subtitles)
Firouzan Rank # 22
|Director of Photography||Ali Reza Zarrindoust|
|Sound Recordist||Rubik Mansouri|
The film's opening scene depicts a hospital ward filled with heavily traumatized - and heavily medicated veterans.
The veterans' collective reality is blurred between their current hospital stay and their time at the front - "We are in a critical situation. Send Angels."
Haji's (Mohammad Begham) thoughts are fixated on the front.
Haji's betrothed, Mehri (Roya Nonahaie) is happy to see him discharged from the hospital.
Haji disapproves of his future father-in-law's questionable business deals.
Typewriter as machine gun fire - everyday sights and sounds bring Haji back to the front.
Haji gets back behind the camera but his subject matter - poverty, inequality, drug addiction only worsen his condition.
A self-reflexive moment: "What's documentary?" - "Recording whatever there is."
A revolutionary wedding speech - condemning the inadequacies of society, "..Robbed food is delicious..."
On the other side of the lens, "Don't take pictures."
This movie is currently only available on VHS
By Donato Totaro Offscreen
"Marriage of the Blessed" (1989) can be seen as part of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s productive early-middle period, coming after his first three films which suffered under the weight of filmic inexperience and crude Islamic Fundamentalism ("Nasuh’s Repentance" 1982, "Seeking Refuge," and "Two Sightless Eyes" 1983). "Marriage of the Blessed" is in the tradition of the anti-war/soldier-adapting-to-civilian genre (if it can be called that), where the William Wyler’s "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) would be one of the paradigms. (However, a recent film which bears a more striking resemblance to "Marriage of the Blessed" is the Yugoslavian "Pretty Village, Pretty Flame" by Srdjan Dragojevic, 1996.) Along with the 1985 "Boycott," "Marriage of the Blessed" marks the beginning of Makhmalbaf’s most formally adventurous and varied period, giving life to outlandish formal touches in terms of wide angle lenses, moving camera shots (characters fastened to the dolly to render a vertiginous sensation which works especially well here), dynamic use of background/foreground, and bold transitions from color to black and white and present (1989) to wartime (the Iran-Iraqi war of 1980-89). Continued
By Dennis Schwartz Ozus' World Movie Reviews
A film that is political in nature and very controversial for the Iranian authorities to deal with, as it shows the effects of shell-shock and a mental breakdown in a photojournalist returning from the frontlines of the Iraq-Iran war. Haji (Mahmud Bigham) has been in a hospital mental asylum recovering from the effects of the war explosives and the doctor dismisses him to go home and recover, advising his family that he should seek a life of gaiety and should get married. Continued
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