Famed Iranian filmmaker is killed in his home

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Famed Iranian filmmaker is killed in his home
Dariush Mehrjui, 83, one of the pioneers of Iranian cinema’s new wave movement, was found dead, along with his wife, at their home outside Tehran.

by Leily Nikounazar

NEW YORK, NY.- Dariush Mehrjui, a prominent Iranian filmmaker, was killed in his home near Tehran, Iran on Saturday along with his wife, according to police.

Mehrjui, 83, who is considered one of the pioneers of Iranian cinema’s new wave movement, and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadifar, 54, a screenwriter and costume designer, were found dead by their daughter when she came to the family house in Karaj, in Alborz province, on Saturday night, according to Hanif Soroori, Mehrjui’s assistant. Their throats had been slit, he said.

Hamid Hadavand, the Alborz police chief, said in an interview with the Iranian student news agency ISNA that a motive for the killings remained unknown. According to a post on the Tasnim News Agency, some gold items appeared to have been stolen.

Mehrjui’s close studies of contemporary life in Iran have inspired a generation of filmmakers. One of his best-known films, “The Cow” (1969), depicting a poor farmer’s love for his cow and his anguish after its death, was produced with funding from the Shah of Iran but promptly banned for its stark portrayal of rural life. In the months leading up to the 1979 revolution, Mehrjui filmed revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then in exile in France, who proved to be a valuable ally once he came into power.

After the revolution, Mehrjui’s films centered around chic middle- and upper-class characters in Tehran as they discussed religion, art and money. In one of his most consequential films, “Hamoun,” a middle-aged intellectual experiences a mental breakdown as his marriage unravels.

Soroori, reached at the crime scene, said that the door had been forced in. The house is in a gated community but is somewhat isolated, he said, and no witnesses had come forward.

Mehrjui was not considered politically controversial. It was not clear if he had any personal enemies. Authorities said an investigation was underway.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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