A scene in A respectable Family
Massoud Bakhshi’s first featured film titled A Respectable Family has been accepted at Two Weeks Directors of 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Below is more information about this film and Bakhshi’s short biography.
Yek khanévadéh-e Mohtaram /Une famille respectable
Massoud Bakhshi, Jacques Bidou, Marianne Dumoulin
Script & Intention
Thirty one years after the Islamic revolution of Iran, the country is still full of contradictions. It has the youngest population of the world: 50 million young men and women, the majority of them educated, open minded and connected to the world.
Making this film will help an international audience to better understand the complex reality of Iran today. One cannot understand Iran without knowing what happened 30 years ago.
This film will be made with a realistic, believable approach and a modern, visual, narrative style: the subjective, handheld camera is attached to Arash as we see and hear the story through his eyes and ears. The cast will be made up of an even mix of professional and non-professional actors.
The flashbacks will look like silent films, expressive and elliptic, accompanied by archive films, sounds and music. All flashbacks will be shot in color, but in the end appear as a black and white film, just like the years of the Iran-Iraq war and the pale and grey Tehran.
I will use all sorts of images to illustrate the past and present of Iranian society. From archive films to photos and from paled films to amateur videos. This mixture of images, will give a very realistic tone to the film.
For me, this story isn’t an “invented” story, but the real life I’ve lived and experienced from my childhood after the revolution of 1979, through my adolescence during the Iran-Iraq war, and through what happened during the years after the war till now.
It is the most important story that I have not heard or read, but lived myself.
A family drama set in the heart of Iran after the revolution, at the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war and today, 30 years after.
The main character ARASH (37) is the second son of his family. He was sent to France to study. In 2008, he’s back in Iran, lives with his mother and teaches sociology at the university of Shiraz. Both have cut off all relations with the rich and powerful father and his son JAFAR, who is Arash’s step brother. The father dies and leaves a huge amount of money to Arash and his mother who does not want to accept this money. Arash, on the other hand, wants to go back to France and decides to accept it.
He leaves Shiraz, with his friendly nephew HAMED, and goes to Tehran to attend his father’s funeral. On the way, his past is revived in his mind.
1982, his father is in charge of distributing subsidized goods. When Arash’s mother and older brother AMIR (16) discover stolen goods in the father’s basement, a fight breaks out. His violent reaction forces Amir to leave for the front. He is killed in the war shortly after. As the death of her firstborn pushes the mother into a depression, the father, who’s now a “martyr’s father” climbs quickly up the social ladder and becomes extremely rich and respected. Jafar who follows his father in this “career” becomes even richer than him.
Once in Tehran, Arash has to confront a new Jafar and his enigmatic son Hamed…
Budget & Financing
Iran is a great landmark in cinema. Nevertheless, there are few coproductions done between Iran and Europe. To finance, edit, and export a creative work in Iran today is particularly complicated. Hence the support of a European producer is indispensable in the financing. For these reasons, we have decided to join Massoud.
The Iranian producer of the film, Mohammad Afarideh has worked for the FARABI cinema foundation, Iranian Young Cinema Society and Documentary & Experimental Film Center for more than 25 years. He has produced and promoted most of the shorts, documentaries and 1st and 2nd features of the new Iranian generation of filmmakers. In 2009, he established his own company, Firoozei films.
Distribution & Sales
Iran is an important country in the world today. To follow a contemporary film, which allows us to understand this country better, is an exalting goal. Beyond the artistic dimension, the care brought to the production is essential, insuring a high technical level from shooting to postproduction.
We aim to be selected in an international festival. Taking into account the calendar of the film, the first meeting is Berlin, a perfect starting place for its promotion. But we do not exclude Cannes. JBA Production has a lot of experience in this field (17 films at Cannes, 12 of which were in “Official Selection”). We are also aware of the importance of good press coming out of these festivals.
Producing an Iranian first feature film has become a big challenge, but this is our reason for existing.
If this type of work were to disappear, if we stopped bearing witness to the creative and social aspects, it would be the very function of Cinema that would loose its balance in favour of commercial cinema without content.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Massoud Bakhshi earned his high school diploma in photography and cinema (1990) and his BS in Agriculture Engineering (1995). He later studied filmmaking in Italy (1999) and Cultural Financement Formation in France (2005). He has worked as a film critic, screenwriter and producer.