Muhsen Makhmalbaf

Iranian cinematic director.

Caricature published in ( issue No.1276_Funon journal_Damascus 25/8/2005)

Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Born into a poor family in Tehran on May 29, 1957. He began to support his single mother since he was 8 and by the time he turned 17, he had worked as bellboy, plain worker and anything else he could find in the 13 jobs he went through.

A lower-class youngster in the poor southern districts of Tehran, Mohsen formed an under-ground Islamic militia group since he was 15 and by the time he was 17, he was shot and arrested while attempting to disarm a policeman. Expecting to remain in prison for much longer, he was released from prison shortly after the revolution in 1979. The 4½-year incarceration helped him to educate himself in various fields and gain focus on his outlooks on life and the Iranian society. This intellectual renaissance led him to distance himself from politics and find better satisfaction in Literature and the arts, especially Cinema. At this stage in his life, he strongly believed that the Iranian society suffers more from Cultural poverty than anything else.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf became a writer and filmmaker of the post-revolutionary Iran. His literary activities included research into the arts, novels, short stories and screenplays that were published 27 books in Farsi, which some of them translated to English, French, Italian, Arabic, Urdu, Kurdish, Turkish, Korean, Portugaise, Greec, Russian, Japanese and ...

He wrote, directed, edited and mainly produced 18 feature films and 6 short films as well as writing screenplays and editing films for various other Iranian filmmakers. His films attended international film festivals through out the world more than 1000 times and earned lots of awards from them. Mohsen Makhmalbaf has also been the subject of many films and books that were made about him and his life.

Since 1996, he temporarily abandoned his filmmaking career to teach. He formed the Makhmalbaf Film House in which he taught film to a select group of pupils including his own three children. He is currently conducting research for his upcoming film after a few years of cinematic silence.

He who in order to research for the making of the movie ‘Kandahar’, had secretly traveled to Afghanistan during the Taliban rule, upon witnessing the chaotic situation of the country infested with ignorance, oppression and poverty, became so disturbed that after the completion of ‘Kandahar’, took charge of executing 80 projects in a 2 year period on education and hygiene within Afghanistan as well as improving the living conditions of Afghan refugees in Iran..

Many of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s works among them his films and writings have been censored and neglected in Iran and....