A prominent filmmaker and screenwriter associated with the Iranian New Wave movement, he made his first feature, Ḥasan kachal (Bald Hasan), in 1970. His notable films include: Ṭawqī (Wood Pigeon), (1970), Sūtahʹdilān (The Heartbroken Ones), (1978), and Mādar (Mother), (1989). Hātami’s unique style has had a significant impact on Iranian cinema, with The Tehran Times calling him “the Hafez of Iranian cinema due to the poetic ambiance of his movies.”
Due to the interest and familiarity with the Iranian classical literature and history, old Iranian prose, folklore, slang and nostalgic tendency to traditional pre-modernization social relations of the Pahlavi dynasty (especially the Qajar dynasty), his films are considered to deal with three aspects. One is his ability to capture a sense of large historical trends, and to depict historical characters with specific political and social resonance, such as Sattār Khān and Kamāl al-Mulk. Another side is his passion for representing Iranian everyday society, depicting the quotidian atmosphere and activity of the streets. Finally, Ḥātamī was deeply interested in folk proverbs, lore, and beliefs, and the ancient culture of the bazaar, and deftly explored such themes in his work, including Ḥasan kachal and Ḥājī Vāshingtun (The Washington’s Haji).
Ḥātamī was perhaps the most Iranian director of Iranian cinema; Mother considered the most Iranian film in the history of Iranian cinema. He was a unique and irreplaceable creator; as the cinema to which he belonged was born with him and ended with his death.
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