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587 Ratings

Fifi Howls from Happiness

Fifi az khoshhali zooze mikeshad

Directed by Mitra Farahani
United States, 2013


Bahman Mohassess was a celebrated artist at the time of the Shah in Iran. But audiences often took offence at the pronounced phalli on his sculptures and his work was regularly censored. Farahani discovers he is living in Rome and begins to craft a final biography, in his own words and on his terms.

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Fifi Howls from Happiness Directed by Mitra Farahani
The resulting documentary is never less than addictively fascinating - Mohassess’s story is a heroic torch of individualism battling mad-state ideology, from the Shah to the mullahs, and his autumnal stance toward all things non-Mohassess is hilariously derisive… The lovely ball&-socket meeting of the two artists’ [Mohasses and Farahani’s] sensibilities is what makes the doc sing, even if it is a chronicle of a death foretold.
August 06, 2014
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The film rarely leaves the subject’s Rome apartment, yet it never feels static. Farahani treats the locale as a microcosmos in which Mohassess holds court—the outspoken artist relishing what will prove to be, in its own surprising and deeply affecting way, a triumphant last hurrah.
August 05, 2014
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Even though [Mohassess]… rarely leaves the confines of his Italian hotel room throughout the documentary, filmmaker Mitra Farahani rescues it from becoming a talking-head fest by embracing her creative self as a character and exposing the travails of her own authorship process. And while she’s obviously admiring of Mohassess’s work, she actually turns him from muse to mere subject, from illusive god to wounded recluse, in order to save the film from veering toward a hagiography.
August 04, 2014
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