The famed director of 'The Cow' and 'The Pear Tree' was stabbed to death at his home in Iran, according to local media reports.
Fans of the celebrated Iranian film director Dariush Mehrjui have woken to the shocking news of his murder at home by an unknown assailant. He was 83.
State media reported Sunday that Mehrjui and his wife Vehideh Mohammadifar were both stabbed to death inside their home in a suburb west of the country’s capital Tehran.
The IRNA news agency reported that the director’s daughterMona Mehrjuimade the terrible discovery when she went to visit her father’s home on Saturday evening. Both victims were reportedly found with knife wounds in their necks.While the investigation is ongoing, it has emerged that Mohammadifar had complained on social media about a knife threat she had received in recent weeks.
Excerpts from the documentary Diamond in La Minor by Hassan Solhjou
Fans of Mehrjui’s work have been quick to express their sadness on social media and remember his work as a co-founder of Iran’s film new wave in the early 1970s. His second film, The Cow, won the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Award at the 1971 Venice Film Festival. It is considered to be the first film of this movement. Most of his films are inspired by literature and adapted from Iranian and foreign novels and plays.
In 1959, Mehrjui moved to the United States to study at the UCLA’s Department of Cinema. He studied there under Jean Renoir, whom he credited with teaching him how to work with actors. Back in his native Iran, prior to his film career, he started his own literary magazine in 1964, Pars Review.
Mehrjui received many awards throughout his career, including a Silver Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival in 1998 and a Golden Seashell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in 1993.
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Like most Iranian directors, Mehrjui fought state censorship his entire career, but he was one of the more outspoken critics of Tehran’s Islamic regime. Last year, he posted a video blasting the government for the suppression of his last, now likely final, feature, A Minor.
Iran’s state media news agency IRNA said authorities were investigating the killings but did not speculate on a possible motive. Mehrjui’s wife had recently posted on social media about a knife threat.
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In an interview published on Sunday by the newspaper Etemad, the filmmaker's wife said that she had been threatened and their home had been burgled.
"The investigation revealed that no complaints had been filed regarding the illegal entry into the Mehrjui's family villa and the theft of their belongings", said Fazeli-Harikandi.
The films were all screened at the Forum des Images in Paris, during a tribute attended by Mehrjui.
Between 1980 and 1985, the film-maker lived in France where he worked on the documentary "Journey to the Land of Rimbaud" (1983).
On returning to Iran, he triumphed at the box office with "The Tenants".
In 1990, he directed "Hamoun", a dark comedy showing 24 hours in the life of an intellectual tormented by his divorce and his intellectual anxieties in an Iran overwhelmed by the technology companies Sony and Toshiba.
Throughout the 1990s, Mehrjui also depicted the lives of women in "Sara", "Pari" and "Leila", a melodrama about an infertile woman who encourages her husband to marry a second woman.