THE WIND CHESSBOARD
"An unexpected rediscovery"
About Mohammad Reza Aslani's film
by Gita Aslani Shahrestani
Everyone wants to become the owner of the beautiful luxurious house after the death of his mistress, Grande Dame. Her daughter, Petite Dame, an emancipated and modern woman resists her mother's last husband, Haji Amou, a traditionalist, patriarchal and corrupt merchant. Their conflict over the possession of this house reflects the Iranian society of the beginning of the 20th century where the supporters of modernity struggled in vain against dogmatic traditionalism. Mohammad Reza Aslani with the subject of The Chessboard of the Wind anticipates the Iranian revolution of 1979 and draws, with clairvoyance, the social and economic failure of Iran through his finely characterized characters.
When it was released in 1976, the avant-gardism of L'Échiquier du vent in its aesthetic choices triggered negative reactions from Iranian critics, who marginalized the film and its director. It is almost fifty years later that this film is finally recognized at its true value thanks to its restoration carried out by The Film Foundation and the Cineteca di Bologna. The film aroused enthusiasm among Western viewers and it was thanks to its selection at Cannes Classics that Iranian critics finally let their guard down and accepted it among their country's auteur films.
For the first time, L'Échiquier du vent is distributed in France by Carlotta Films, a chance he hadn't had until today.
Gita Aslani Shahrestani, daughter of the director, obtained her doctorate with a thesis on the forgotten part of Iranian auteur cinema. She is a researcher in film studies, attached to the University of Paris-Nanterre, and her work focuses on the history and aesthetics of Iranian, Kurdish and Turkish cinema and on the presence of Persian mystical poetry and thought in the cinema of these countries. She is the author of several articles on Iranian cinema and has created several festivals of independent films and Iranian authors in France and Iran.