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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Chess of the Wind: banned Iranian gothic thriller set to screen at Hyde Park Picture House

An Iranian gothic thriller which was banned in the country and presumed lost for years will be screened at a historic cinema in the city.

Chess of the Wind, which was critical of the Shah’s royalist government, was painstakingly restored after being rediscovered in a junk shop in 2014.

Directed by Mohammad Reza Aslani, the family drama was banned following the Iranian revolution of 1979.

The director’s family unsuccessfully searched archives for the original film before the negatives were finally discovered and taken to Paris for restoration.

A screening of the 93-minute film is planned at Hyde Park Picture House after an 18 certificated was granted by Leeds City Council.

A report to the council’s licensing sub-committee said the film is set in an ornate mansion where heirs to a family fortune vie for control of the estate.

It said: “Melding the influences of European modernism, gothic horror and classical Persian art, director Mohammad Reza Aslani crafts an exquisitely controlled mood piece that erupts in a stunningly subversive final act in which class conventions, gender roles and even time itself are upended with shocking ferocity.”

The screening was proposed for Sunday, 4 February, as part of a retrospective film programme at the cinema on Brudenell Road, Hyde Park.

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