Episode #13: “Paternal House” and Mainstream Iranian Cinema

Welcome to episode #13 of the podcast. We are joined again by Corey Atad, who previously appeared on our fourth episode to discuss Still Life. Today’s topic of conversation is The Paternal House (Khane-ye Pedari), the long-awaited latest film from veteran director Kianoush Ayari. Although Ayari’s name and, by extension, his films, are not familiar to non-Iranian cinephiles, he’s become one of the most respected figures in the Iranian industry since the 1980s. Any new film by him would be greeted with enthusiasm in Iran, though The Paternal House‘s troubled history certainly added to the intrigue.

                           Kiyanoush Ayari (left) on the set of The Paternal House
                           Kiyanoush Ayari (left) on the set of The Paternal House

Ayari’s films have rarely seen the light of day since the turn of the century — 1998’s To Be Or Not to Be was his last publicly released feature. The Paternal House had been ready for several years before it was finally screened this year, only to be removed from the theatres within the first week of its release. Its confrontational violence, the radical tone of its feminism and Ayari’s admirable resolve to keep the film intact meant that this bitter, profound and absurdly comic melodrama is resigned to an unfortunate fate on the illegal market. Join us for a conversation about the film’s considerable merits, a short overview of Ayari’s career, the current condition of mainstream Iranian film and, finally, some speculation about Farhadi’s Spanish next film, produced by none other than Pedro Almodovar.

Introduction 0:00-1:40
The cinema of Kianoush Ayari 1:40-7:50
The Paternal House: violence and comedy 7:50-18:10
Melodrama with an Iranian flavour 18:10-23:04
A sociopolitical reading of the film 23:05-31:45
Today’s mainstream Iranian cinema 31:45-37:07
Asghar Farhadi’s collaboration with Pedro Almodovar 37:07-43:58

You can download an .mp3 version of this episode here, or subscribe to our show on iTunes.

Works Cited
Kianoush Ayari’s The Paternal House (imdb)
Music: “Sonatine” by Maziar Heidari


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