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Fifi Howls From Happiness

by Mitra Farahani
USA/FR 2013, 96′
Presented at Lo schermo dell’arte Film Festival 2013
SOUND: Amir Hossein Ghassemi
EDITING: Yannick Kergoat, Suzana Pedro
VOICE OVER: Mitra Farahani
MUSIC: Tara Kamangar
PRODUCER: Mirjaneh Moghimi
PRODUCTION: Butimar Production
LANGUAGE: Pharsi; SUBTITLES: English, Italian
At the end of the 1960s, painter and sculptor Bahman Mohassess permanently left Iran, destroying most of his work and disappearing from the public scene. In an effort to discover the reason for recurring fish-imagery in his work, but above all to rescue him from official art historical oblivion, Mitra Farahani visited him in a Rome hotel in 2010. Interviewed under the red painting from which the film takes its name, the caustic, egocentric artist dictates his biography, giving the director instructions for many of the scenes. Only when he receives a commission from two passionate young artist/collectors from Dubai (Rokni and Ramin Haerizadeh), does “the solitary monster exit his cave”, and prepare to paint his final great piece. The last months of Mohassess’ life take on aspects of the novel The Unknown Masterpiece by Honoré de Balzac, but the only images in which we see the artist at work are taken from a documentary filmed in the 1970s. Winner of the Scam International Award at the Cinéma du Réel Festival, 2013.
Mitra Farahani Painter and filmmaker, was born in Tehran in 1975. She studied with the renowned painter Gholem Hossein Nami. In 2001 she began a degree at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris. Her first documentary, Just A Woman, was awarded the Teddy Awards Special Jury Prize.
Selected Filmography
2001 Just A Woman 2004 Zohre and Manouchehr (Taboos) 2005 Behjat Sadr: Suspended Time