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ʿAlī Hātamī


ʿAlī Hātamī

A prominent filmmaker and screenwriter associated with the Iranian New Wave movement, he made his first feature, Hasan 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.” 

Owing to an interest in and familiarity with Iranian classical literature and history, old Iranian prose, folklore, and slang, as well as a nostalgic tendency toward traditional pre-modernization era social relations of the Pahlavi dynasty (especially of the Qajar dynasty), his films are considered as dealing with three aspects. One is Hātami’s 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 on the streets. Finally, Hātamī was deeply interested in folk proverbs, lore, and beliefs, and the ancient culture of the bazaar, themes that he deftly explored in his work, including Hasan kachal and Hājī Vāshingtun (Haji Washington; 1983). 

Hātamī was perhaps the most Iranian director to have worked in Iranian cinema; Mādar is 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.