The Deer

The Deer

A film by Masoud Kimiai | 1974 | 118 minutes

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For two consecutive decades and in various Iranian critics’ polls, The Deer has occupied the very top place as “the best Iranian film ever made.” Known for his revenge drama Gheysar (1969)—which changed the course of Iranian cinema—director Masoud Kimiai adds an explicitly political dimension to the story of his typically defiant characters. Here, in a nod to Hollywood’s “buddy film,” the familiar hero of Iranian popular cinema is prompted into social action, far beyond the usual romantic conquests. There is a sense of an imminent revolution in this story of a former champ turned junkie, who reunited with a leftist classmate and is redeemed by revolutionary anger. Picking up where the anti-hero of Gheysar left off, the leading character, Seyyed, (played by versatile method actor Behrouz Vossoughi) again takes the law into his own hands and challenges the established order.

When it premiered at the Tehran International Film Festival in November 1974, the film severely suffered from censorship. Despite the censorship, every sequence of this moving, political manifesto resonated with millions of Iranians. Almost unseen outside Iran, this is a rare chance to see a poignant and essential moment in film history when cinema and politics clash.


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