Iranian filmmaker, playwright, screenwriter, and stage director. A popular and critically acclaimed filmmaker in Iran and abroad, he is widely recognized as a pioneering figure of the Iranian New Wave. His notable films include Ragbār (Rain Shower) (1971), Bāshū, gharībaʹī Kūchak (Bāshū, The Little Stranger) (1986) Marg-i Yazdgird (Death of Yazdgird) (1982), and Sag-kushī (Dog-killing) (2001). He was one of the founders and members of the Iranian Writers’ Association from its establishment in 1968 to 1978. In 1970s, he taught at the University of Tehran as a visiting professor. After the Islamic Revolution, after years of teaching experience at the Department of Dramatic Arts, he was suspended from the University of Tehran in 1981. Between 1985 and 1987, in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War, his family left Iran. He remarried in 1992 and, at the invitation of the European Parliament, left for Strasbourg, France. After a year, he returned to Iran and continued working in the theatre. He started his cinematic career by shooting a short black-and-white film, ʿAmū sībīlū (Uncle Moustache), in 1969. The films he made between 1978 and 1981 are still banned by the Iranian government. In the years before and after the Revolution, he faced many difficulties for making his films. He has made nine feature films and four short films so far. Bayz̤āyi is one of the few Iranian artists who has a brilliant record both in the theatre and in cinema. His films are known for their symbolism and employment of mythical imagery in Iranian culture, which give his works a unique blend of theatre, literature, and poetry. In addition to his cinematic career, he has made notable contributions to Iranian dramatic art through his publications on the history of Iranian theatre, widely considered as authoritative accounts of the history of Iranian theater. In the 1940s, he has also published a number of books about theatre in China and Japan, which are still considered as a textbook for theatre students in Iran. Above all, he is a master playwright with more than 50 published plays. His familiarity and mastery of Persian language and literature has turned his plays and screenplays into outstanding literary works, among which masterpieces such as the Marg-i Yazdgird (1979), the Fatḥ-nāmah-yi Kalāt (The Book of Conquest of Kalat) (1982) and the Ṭūmār-i Shaykh-i Sharzīn (The Scroll of Shaykh of Sharzin) (1986) can be mentioned. In 2010, he went to the United States at the invitation of Stanford University. His stay in the United States was Bayz̤āyi’s longest stay away from Iran. He has been active in the United States and, in addition to teaching, has written and directed on numerous occasions. At Stanford, he has staged several of his plays including Jānā and Balādūr (2012), Ārash (2013), Guzārish-i Ardāvīrāf (Ardāvīrāf’s Report) (2015), Ṭarabʹnāmah (The Book of Merriments) (2016), and Chihārʹrāh (The Crossroad) (2018).
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Mojdeh Shamsaie (m. 1992)