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Critics' Pick

Fifi Howls from Happiness (Fifi az khoshhali zooze mikeshad) (NR)

Documentary 96 August 15, 2014

The acclaimed paintings and sculptures of provocative artist Bahman Mohassess dominated pre-revolutionary Iran. Irreverent and uncompromising, a gay man in a hostile world, Mohassess had a conflicted relationship with his homeland: he was revered by elites and praised as a national icon, only to be censored later by an oppressive regime. Known for his iconoclastic art as well as his scathing declarations, Mohasses abandoned the country over 30 years ago for a simple, secluded life in Italy. Artist/filmmaker Mitra Farahani discovers him living alone in a hotel room in Rome and begins to craft the perfect final biography, in his own words and on his terms. Along the way, the spirit of the man behind the image is laid bare—both painfully sensitive and crudely comical, "condemned to paint," but unable to compel himself to leave anything behind as a legacy. When two artist brothers and ardent fans commission him for an ambitious project, Mohassess feels a renewed sense of purpose and returns to painting after decades of dormancy.

Mitra Farahani Bahman Mohassess, Rokni Haerizadeh Music Box Films

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