Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Googoosh - Iran's Daughter|
Director: Farhad Zamani
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Googoosh, Iran's legendary pop diva, was silenced following the 1979 Islamic revolution, when women singers were labeled "temptresses" and forbidden to perform publicly in the presence of men or to release recordings. For ... more »
(She's) Still Iran's Daughter
The Pretender | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a review I saw in the Asian Reporter. Pretty impressive!
By Polo / Asian Reporter July 2005
I could humbly decline to speak. I should find me a savvy Tehrani to help out - I would probably save myself from sounding dumb. Because this is hard. This is not just a gripping biography about Googoosh, a stage and screen icon doubtless as compelling to modern Iranians as Marilyn Monroe remains for us. This film also chronicles Iran's dizzying drive toward modernity, then the country's tortured tumble into an anachronistic theocracy. Farhad Zamani does all that.
"Googoosh: Iran's Daughter" is a difficult documentary. It takes work. In fact, it takes two hours and 38 minutes. Mr. Zamani's research is impressive. He says he sat through over 30 Googoosh movies, from her early days as a child actor to the heady days just before Shah Reza Pahlavi's fall. He personally interviewed 20 musicians and lyricists, professors and clerics, family and friends.
What emerges is a fascinating portrayal of a woman embodying something more than that uneasy mélange of star power and vulnerability that Western voyeurs witnessed in the arc of Marilyn and Elvis, Marvin or Janis. Googoosh is a proper noun, a verb, and an adjective.
Googoosh, as person and phenom, meant as much to popular Persian culture as the Beatles meant to our generation. She set the standard, not by clever design in the way Madonna smartly packaged her own pop authority, but by the artist's immediate resonance with the aspirations of a rapidly evolving urban Persian society.
She broke so many rules. Maybe most of them. Whether it was Googoosh or her handlers, whether it was she or her act, is hard to say. Orthodox Shi'ia authorities made no distinctions. She was silenced. She makes no appearance in her film. The director, Mr. Zamani, makes it clear who was punished for Googoosh's public persona, for the pop culture that swelled around her act.
According to Mr. Zamani, the true beauty of the woman - whether we're talking about the public icon or cynically used public performer - is that she stayed. She could have run. She could've exiled the way many educated and most urbane Iranians did. She would've sung in front of steadily diminishing houses of homesick émigrés in Houston or L.A. But she stayed. And thus silenced for 21 years, she remains Iran's Daughter.
An Innovative Biopic of the Persian Pop Princess
Henri Miller | 06/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is taken from the UK based magazine Songlines, written by Nigel Williamson:
Googoosh was Iran's best-loved pop diva -- until, that is, she was silenced by the 1979 revolution, which banned women from performing for audiences that included men on the grounds that "looking is fornication of the eye," and which applied a similarly unreasonable principle to female voices on disc and radio.
This unconventional documentary of the singer's life could easily have been hamstrung by the fact that while the film was being made, Googoosh was forbidden to talk to its director, American-Iranian Farhad Zamani. Yet somehow he brilliantly turns her enforced silence to advantage, compellingly creating what he describes as the "presence of an absence" through images, silences, archive footage, subtitles over blacked-out screen, and interviews with friends, family, and fans.
These techniques serve to emphasise the tragedy of such a potent voice being stilled at the height of her powers, aged only 29. And they mean that, in this DVD, Googoosh's dramatic life is not so much set against the socio-political context of Iranian culture and history but becomes a metaphor for it.
As a singer she had a strong pop sensibility and there's even a clip of her singing an English-language version of Carole King's "It's Too Late" that could have come from the Val Doonican Show. Yet her story deserves to be told, and it also has something of a happy ending. Shortly after this documentary was made, in 2000, she was allowed to leave Iran and tour the US, where she played her first concerts in 21 years to ecstatic audiences of Iranian exiles.
-- by Nigel Williamson, Songlines, May/June 2005"
An incredible artistic journey
Henri Miller | 09/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was probably one of the the most ignored/underappreciated documentary features of 2000 (I happened to see it at a screening in Chicago). And it isn't hard to see why: it is perhaps too intelligent for it's audience. One of the few unconventional documentaries of the past few years -- with its blending of images, silences, and interview material -- GOOGOOSH: Iran's Daughter is not only the story of one of Iran's pop-cultural icons (the "silenced" vocalist/actress Googoosh), but it is also an exploration of modern Iranian history, culture, and socio-political issues. The subject matter is often very dense (and it's running time of 158 minutes maybe too much for some viewers) but the film seems to flow seemlessly from one subject to another. While the rest of the world gushes over post-revolutionary Iranian cinema coming from inside Iran, we must not forget that there are also artists living abroad who are just as challening and interesting with their work. I recommend this amazing documentary film to anyone who is a lover of film art. I see something new everytime I watch it."
From World Pulse Magazine
Film Buff | 07/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Zamani's film tells the fascinating story of Googoosh, an Iranian legend who, like Marilyn Monroe, has constantly sought the luxury of a private identity. Primed from an early age for the stage and screen, she was later silenced, and in her silence became "the voice of a nation." Googoosh was born in 1951 into a very different Iran than the one we know today. The highly visible singer and actor had a powerful image that was venerated by government officials. They found her chic, fun, and charismatic and courted her a representative of their own interests.
But with the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran began a social, political, and cultural transformation, shifting back to a prohibitve fundamentalist government. Women singers were labled "temptresses" and forbidden to perform publicly or to release recordings.
For Googoosh, whose identity was inseperable from performance, this fate equaled death. Instead of leaving her country, as other entertainers did, she retreated from public life for 20 years, becoming a symbol of censorship and oppression and fueling the frenzy of her fans.
Zamani gradually paints an impressionistic and honoring portrait of Googoosh, using footage from her starlet years and interview material from those who know her."