September 25, 2023

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Tehran museum to screen restored version of 1982 “The Messenger”

TEHRAN –The cinematheque of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art plans to screen a restored version of “The Messenger”, an Iranian movie directed by Fariborz Saleh in 1982, centered around the Ashura event.

The screening scheduled for Sunday will be followed by a review session.

Made in 1982, “The Messenger” stands out as one of the pioneering Iranian film centered on the Ashura incident. The film was created amidst the hardships endured by its crew during the Iran-Iraq war, ultimately emerging as a remarkable work of Iranian cinema.

The film tells the story of Qays ibn Musahir al-Saidawi, who embarks on a journey to Kufa carrying a letter from Imam Hussein (AS), entrusted with the task of delivering the powerful message to the people of Kufa and their Sheikh Sulayman ibn Surad. 

Once he arrived in Kufa, his journey took a devastating turn as he was apprehended by the agents of Ibn Ziyad. Without warning, he was swiftly thrown into the confines of a prison, leading him down a path towards martyrdom.

“The Messenger” is a groundbreaking Iranian film that boldly addresses the Ashura event, making it the first of its kind. The mesmerizing story is as captivating as it is meaningful, and the inclusion of skilled actors, who have left their mark in diverse films of the pre-Revolution era, adds a captivating allure to the movie.

Saleh was able to present both positive and negative characters in the story of the film to the audience by utilizing famous actors in pre-Revolution era films. Through the casting of Faramarz Qaribian as Qays, who had previously crafted a positive image in Masud Kimiaii’s “The Deer” in 1975, Saleh effectively harnessed the audience’s preconceived notions. 

In addition, the presence of actors like Jalal Pishvaian and Kazem Afrandania, who portrayed senior agents of Ibn Ziyad, added depth to the character portrayals. These actors were known for their exceptional performances in traditional antagonistic roles in films from the pre-Revolution era.

“The Messenger” and its reception by the audience raised hopes for more films exploring Ashura themes and the tragic incident of Karbala at the time.

The Ashura event is one of the most dramatic historical occurrences. It marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Imam and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), along with his 72 loyal companions.

Photo: A scene from “The Messenger” by Fariborz Saleh


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