Ardeshir Mohasses (1938-2008) was Iran's foremost political cartoonist, satirist, painter and illustrator. Drawing upon his intimate knowledge of Iran's culture, history, and sociopolitical situation, Ardeshir attracted the attention not only of the intellectuals, poets and writers of Iran of the time but also the international community. Filmmaker Bahman Maghsoudlou seeks to portray the beauty of Ardeshir's purpose and power in crafting his art to convey the plight of the oppressed, and his universal sense of justice and tyranny, expressed through a satirical visual history of Iran since the Qajar era. Interviews with prominent critics and friends are arranged to depict the nuances of Ardeshir's life: his time and career in Iran, his art and passion later in the United States, sources of his brilliant inspiration, his private reclusive moments, and his progressive political and social outlook. Ardeshir's various artistic endeavors are comprehensively covered, and viewers will see samples of his political cartoons, visual commentaries, and works for the New York Times along with his avant-garde style. This feature documentary admiringly displays the depth of Ardeshir's observations and his extraordinary free spirit.
DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:
Film scholar and critic Bahman Maghsoudlou is the recipient of Iran’s prestigious Forough Farrokhzad literary award for writing and editing a series of books about cinema and theater. These include the widely acclaimed Iranian Cinema, which was published in 1987 by New York University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and is used around the world as a resource on the history of Persian films.Maghsoudlou’s activities involving international cinema further include participation as panelist, juror and lecturer at a wide variety of film festivals. As a filmmaker he wrote, directed and produced the short documentary film Ardeshir Mohasses and His Caricatures (1972), which was shown at the Leipzig Film Festival in 1996, Ahmad Mahmoud: A Noble Novelist (2004), and Iran Darroudi: The Painter of Ethereal Moments (2010), the first, third and fourth films in the Great Artists series. The second film in the series, Ahmad Shamlou: Master Poet of Liberty, was honored with the Stig Dagerman Award in Sweden in 1999. His latest two films, the fifth and sixth in the series, are Ardeshir: The Rebellious Artist, an extended update of his original film about Mohasses, and Kia-Rostami: A Report, about Abbas Kia-Rostami, the most famous Iranian filmmaker.As a producer Maghsoudlou’s films have been selected for more than 100 major film festivals and garnered many awards, and include The Suitors (Cannes, 1988), Manhattan by Numbers (Venice, Toronto, 1993), Seven Servants with legendary actor Anthony Quinn (Locarno, Toronto, 1996), Life in Fog (1998) – the single most awarded short documentary film in the history of Iranian Cinema – and Silence of the Sea, winner of six prizes, selected for more than 20 other film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival in 2004.Maghsoudlou is also continuing his work on an ongoing project, the historical documentary The Life & Legacy of Mohammad Mossadegh.Maghsoudlou’s new book is Grass: Untold Stories, a definitive account of the making of Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life, the groundbreaking documentary filmed by Merian Cooper, Ernest Schoedsack and Marguerite Harrison in Iran in 1924. He is a member of Pen American center.A graduate in cinema studies from the City University of New York with a PhD from Columbia, Maghsoudlou lives in New York.