Pasolini returns to Iran
By Jaime León
Tehran, Jul 3 (EFE).- The legacy of Italian writer, poet and filmmaker Pier Pasolini has returned to Iran with an exhibition that explores his movie Arabian Nights, part of which was filmed in the monumental city of Isfahan before the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
This narrator, heretical communist and innate provocateur spent a hundred days in Iran in 1973 to shoot part of his peculiar version of “One Thousand and One Nights,” the medieval collection of stories from the Middle East, a project that was documented by the photographer Roberto Villa.
Villa’s photography forms the backbone of the exhibition Truth Lies Not in One Dream but in Many at the contemporary Argo Factory in Tehran, staged with the collaboration of the Italian embassy in Iran.
But there are also fragments of film, interviews with the director and costumes from Arabian Nights, which won the Grand Prix Special Prize at Cannes in 1974.
“Pasolini had a relationship with Iran, deep and continuous in different fields, in his poetry, his films, in his writings,” Reza Haeri, the exhibition’s curator, said.
“He lost something in Italy and found it again in Iran.”
He added: ”He was against the capitalist development that destroyed everything.”
This capitalist development had just taken hold in Iran at the time, although on a far smaller scale than in Europe.”
Pasolini found his Sair — the fictitious city in the original tale — in Isfahan, the central Iranian city known for its striking monuments.
The former capital of Persia boasts the enormous Naqsh-e Jahan Square square, blue-domed mosques and medieval bridges.
The Tehran exhibition has been well received by visitors, according to the organizers at the Argo Factory, a former brewery that has been converted into a museum and cultural center.
One thousand people turned up for its opening day in mid-June, and a similar number of visitors pass through at the weekend.
Despite the perceptions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is a multitude of art galleries and centers in the country.
Last year, Tehran’s contemporary art museum TMoCA hosted an exhibition of 18 pieces by Andy Warhol, including his famous works involving Marilyn Monroe and his soup tins. EFE