From my Iranian New Wave programme notes, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, 2015. -- EK
Iran, 1965 Regia: Farrokh Ghaffari
T. int.: Night of the Hunchback. Scen.: Farrokh Ghaffari, Jalal Moghaddam. Dial.: Jalal Moghaddam. F.: Gerium Hayrapetian. M.: Ragnar. Mus.: Hossein Malek. Int.: Pari Saberi, Paria Hakemi, Khosro Sahami, Mohamad Ali Keshavarz, Farhang Amiri, Farrokh Ghaffari. Prod.: Iran Nema Studio.
Set over the course of one night, this black comedy focuses on the efforts of a group of stage actors, the father of a bride, and a hairdresser and his assistant (played by Ghaffari himself) to rid themselves of an unwelcome corpse, against the backdrop of uptown Tehranis partying to Ray Charles.
If this pioneering Iranian arthouse film is somehow difficult to pigeonhole, it’s partly due to Farrokh Ghaffari’s own resistance to easy categorisation within Iranian cinema: on the one hand, a true cinephile and intellectual disapproving of a society which he saw as a hotbed of deceit and corruption; on the other hand, a white collar worker at the very institutions which contributed to such cultural backwardness.
Ghaffari lived in Europe from the age of 10. A regular at the Paris Cinémathèque, he befriended Henri Langlois and with his encouragement returned to Iran in 1949 to initiate the Iranian equivalent of the Cinémathèque, Kanoon-e Melli-e Film, which hosted 616 screenings up to the time of the revolution.