May 29, 1957
|Years active||1981 - present|
|Awards||Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Beirut|
Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Persian: محسن مخملباف, Mohsen Makhmalbaaf, born May 29, 1957) is an acclaimed and award-winning Iranian film director, writer, editor, and producer. He has made more than 20 feature films, won some 50 awards and been a jury in more than 15 major film festivals. His award winning films include Kandahar and his latest film is the The Gardener.
Makhmalbaf's films have been widely presented in international film festivals in the past ten years. The multi-award-winning director, belongs to the new wave movement of Iranian cinema. Time magazine selected Makhmalbaf's 2001 film, Kandahar, as one of the top 100 films of all time. In 2006, he was a member of the Jury at the Venice film festival.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf is a major figure in Iranian cinema. His films have explored the relationship between the individual and a larger social and political environment. As a result, his work serves as an extended commentary on the historical progression of the Iranian state and its people. Makhmalbaf focuses on several genres, from realist films to fantasy and surrealism, from minimalism to large frescos of everyday life, with a predilection (common to Iranian directors) for the themes of childhood and cinema.
In 1981 he wrote the screenplay for Towjeeh directed by Manuchehr Haghaniparast. In 1982 he wrote the screenplay for Marg Deegari directed by Mohammad-Reza Honarmand. He made his first film Tobeh Nosuh in 1983. Boycott is a 1985 film by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, set in pre-revolutionary Iran. The movie tells the story of a young man named Valeh (Majid Majidi) who is sentenced to death for his communist tendencies. It is widely believed that the movie is based on Makhmalbaf’s own experiences.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf creates a spare and deeply affecting portrait of human despair, exploitation, and resilience in The Cyclist (1987). The movie is about Nasim, a poor Afghan refugee in Iran, who is in desperate need of money for his ailing wife. Finally Nasim agrees to ride a bicycle in a small circle for one week straight in return for the money he needs to pay his wife’s medical bills.
Makhmalbaf directed Gabbeh in 1996. The film follows the nomadic Ghashghai people, whose bright, bold carpets tell stories. The main yarn features a young woman who loves a mysterious stranger, but is forbidden to marry him. Makhmalbaf attempts to follow the carpet idea by making his film dreamily romantic and non-realistic. Events seem to leap around in time and space, much like a dream.
Makhmalbaf took time off from directing in 1996 to form the Makhmalbaf Film House, a school for young film makers. It quickly became a private production house for the increasing number of filmmakers in his family. In 1997 his seventeen-year-old daughter, Samira directed "The Apple," using him as a scriptwriter and editor. Mohsen Makhmalbaf's wife, Marziyeh Meshkini, worked as assistant director to her daughter and then took up directing herself.
Kandahar (2001) is a fictional odyssey inspired by a true story. It is Makhmalbaf's look at Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks, as the Taliban's laws strip women of civil rights and hope, and a Western-cultured Afghan woman returns to prevent her sister's suicide during the last eclipse of the 20th century.
Degrees & Recognitions
- Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature From St Andrew University, Scotland, 2011
- Honorary Degree of Doctor of Cinema From Nanterre University, France, 2010
- "Freedom to Create Prize" for his human right activity and promoting social Justice through his art, Art Action, England, 2009
- “Federico Fillini Honor” from UNESCO in Paris, 2001 (France)
- A Moment of Innocence: Among Top Ten Films of the Decade – Awarded by International Festival Directors and Critics 1999.
- Mohsen Makhmalbaf: Selected as the best filmmaker after the revolution by readers of cinema publications, 1988.
- Boycott (1985)
- The Street Vendor (1986)
- The Bicyclist (1987)
- Dastforoush (a/k/a "The Peddler," US) (1987)
- The Marriage of the Blessed (1988)
- Time of Love (1990)
- The Nights of Zayande-rood (1990)
- Once Upon a Time, Cinema (1991)
- Actor (1993)
- Hello Cinema (1994)
- Gabbeh (1995)
- Bread and Flower-pot (retitled A Moment of Innocence for anglophone audiences) (1995)
- The Silence (1997)
- Tales of Kish (1999)
- Test of Democracy (1999), with Farrokh-yar
- Kandahar (2001), brought him the Federico Fellini Prize From Unesco in Paris in 2001
- Alefbay-e afghan (2002) (The Afghan Alphabet, documentary)
- Monday Market (2004)
- Colder Than Fire (2005)
- Sex & Philosophy (2005)
- Chair (2005)
- Poet of wastes (2005)(writer not director)
- Scream of the ants (2006)
- The Man Who Came With the Snow (2009), co-directed with Marzieh Meshkini
- The Gardener (2012)
Films banned in Iran
- Time of Love (1990), banned since 1990
- The Nights of Zayande-rood (1990), banned since 1990
- Bread and Flower-pot (1995), banned from 1995 until 1997
- The Silence (1997), banned from 1997 until 2000
- Naser-ed-din Shah (1991), banned from 1992 until 1993
- The Marriage of the Blessed (1988), directed by himself
- Close-up (1988), directed by Abbas Kiarostami
- Hello Cinema (1994), directed by himself
- Bread and Flower-pot (1995), directed by himself
- The Test of Democracy (1999), directed by himself and Farrokh-yar
The Cyclist: Best Film - Rimini Festival (Italy) 1989.
2. The Cyclist: Best Film - Hawaii Festival (USA) 1991.
3. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Film - Taormina Festival (Italy) 1992.
4. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Film – Karlovy vary Festival (Czechoslovakia) 1992.
5. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Film – Fiprachi Critics - Karlovy vary Festival (Czechoslovakia) 1992.
6.Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Director – Karlovy vary Festival (Czechoslovakia) 1992.
7. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Special Jury Prize - Istanbul Festival (Turkey) 1993.
8. Collection of Works: Press Award – São Paulo Festival (Brazil) 1995.
9. Salam Cinema: Best Film – Munich Festival (Germany) 1996.
10. Gabbeh: Best Artistic Film – Tokyo Festival (Japan) 1996.
11. Gabbeh: One of 10 selected films by critics – Times (USA) 1996.
12. Gabbeh: Best Director – Sitguess Festival (Spain) 1996.
13. Gabbeh: Special Critics Award - Sitguess Festival (Spain) 1996.
14. Gabbeh: Best Asian Feature Film – Singapore Festival (Singapore) 1997.
15. A Moment of Innocence: Special Jury Award – Locarno Festival (Switzerland) 1996.
16. A Moment of Innocence: Youth Golden Award - Locarno Festival (Switzerland) 1996.
17. A Moment of Innocence: Among Top Ten Films of the Decade – Awarded by International Festival Directors and Critics 1999.
18. Silence: Golden Prize of Italian Parliament - Venice Festival (Italy) 1997.
19. Silence: Human, Art and Nature Award - Venice Festival (Italy) 1997.
20. Collection of Works: “Ville d'yssingeaux”, France 1998.
21. Marshall of Art and Literature, (France) 1998.
22. Kandahar: Grand prize from Society of churches of world, Cannes 2001 (France)
23. Kandahar: “Federico Fillini Honor” from UNESCO in Paris, 2001 (France)
24. Kandahar: The best movie from Ajaccio Film Festival, (France) 2001
25. Kandahar: "Public Prize" from Festival des Cinemas du Sud, (France) 2001
26. Kandahar:"Best Director Award" from Riga International Film Forum Arsenals,Latvia 2002
27. Thessaloniki 4th festival, Honorary Humanitarian Award (Greece) 2002
28. Collection of Works: “Francois Truffaut prize”, Giffoni Film Festival in Italy 2002.
29. The Afghan Alphabet:"Best Film Award"from Document ART International Film Festival, (Germany) 2002.
30. The 2003 Asian Filmmaker Award from Pusan Film Festival ,(South Korea) 2003.
31. One Of "The Best Hundred Films" Of History Of Cinema, Chosen By Times, (USA), 2005
32. Kandahar: "Best Film" Fiprachi Critics From Thessaloniki (Greece) 2001
33. Sex & Philosophy,Tica Film Mediale International Film Festival, Italy,2005
34. Sergei Parajanov Awards for outstanding Artistic contribution to the world cinema, Yerevan Film Festival, Armenia, 2006
35. "Clermont-Ferrand Medallion", the city medallion granted to the legendary Mohsen Makhmalbaf, France, 2006.
36. Jury Special Mention Award for "Scream of the Ants" and lifetime achievement as a filmmaker, The Granada Film Festival CINES DEL SUR, Spain, 2007
37. "Golden Stag" award for lifetime achievement through his works and career as an outstanding artist, 37th Kyve (Molodist) International Film Festival, Ukraine 2007
38. "Alhambra" award for his artistic and humanitarian films, CINES DEL SUR International Film Festival, Spain, 2008
39- "Golden Dinosaur" award for establishment of Makhmalbaf film school ETIUDA&ANIMA International Film Festival, Poland, 2008
40- "Grand Human Right award" for his lifetime achievement and activity for human right through his art and actions from Nuremberg Human Right Film Festival, Germany, 2009
41- "Freedom to Create Prize" for his human right activity and promoting social Justice through his art, Art Action, England, 2009
44- "Special Award for a life time activity for human right through art and cinema" São Paulo Festival (Brazil) 2011
45- Golden Award for "The Gardener", From Beirut International Film Festival, Lebanon, 2012
1. The Cyclist: Best Screenplay – Fajr Film Festival, 1988.
2. The Cyclist: Best Director – Fajr Film Festival, 1988.
3. The Cyclist: Set Design – Fajr Film Festival, 1988.
4. The Cyclist: Iranian Critics Award, 1990.
5. Marriage of The Blessed: Iranian Critics Award, 1990.
6. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Editing – Fajr Film Festival, 1991.
1- Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland) 1994.
2- São Paulo International Film Festival(Brazil) 1995.
3- Torino International Film Festival (Italy) 1996.
4- Taormina International Film Festival (Italy) 1998.
5-Pusan International Film Festival (South Corea)1998.
6- Bahrein International Film Festival (Bahrein) 2000.
7- Singapore International Film Festival (Singapore) 2000.
8- Crala International Film Festival (India) 2001.
9- Osian's – Cinefan (India) 2004.
10- Dushanbeh International Film Festival (Tajikistan) 2004.
11- Clermont-ferrand International Film Festival (France) 2006.
12- Venice International Film Festival (Italy) 2006.
13- Europe Asia International Film Festival (Kazakhstan) 2006.
14- HEAD OF JURY: Molodist International Film Festival (Ukraine) 2007
15- Etiuda & Anima International Film Festival (Poland) 2008
16- Head of Jury: Tbillisi International Film Festival (Georgia) 2012.
Books on Makhmalbaf
- Hamid Dabashi, Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future. (Chapter on Makhmalbaf). Verso, 2001.
- Hamid Dabashi, Like Light from the Heart of Darkness. Sakuhinsha, Japan, 2004.
- Hamid Dabashi, Masters & Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema: (Chapter XI: Mohsen Makhmalbaf: A Moment of Innocence. pp. 325–368). Mage Publishers, 2007. ISBN 0-934211-85-X.
- Hamid Dabashi, Makhmalbaf at Large: The Making of a Rebel Filmmaker. I. B. Tauris, 2007. 
- .The Peddler: (Director’s interview, Screenplay, Reviews, and Study) Compiled by Ebrahim Nabavi, 1989.
- Salam Cinema: (Screenplay, Interviews, Reviews, and Study) Compiled by Amir Khosravi, 1996.
- . Gabbeh: (Photographs with along Screenplay) Photography by: Mohammad Ahmadi, 1996.
- . Silence: (Photographs with along Screenplay) Photography by: Maysam Makhmalbaf, 1998.
- . Mohsen Makhmalbaf: (Review and Study) Compiled by: Alberto Barbara (in Italian), 1996.
- . Makhmalbaf’s Broken Mirrors: (Review and Study) Compiled by: Lyrid Dijeon (in English), 2000.
- . Introducing of Mohsen Makhmalbaf and his works: (Review and Study) Compiled by: Baharlou, 1995 (second print: 1998).
- . "Salaam Cinema, Films of Makhmalbaf Family" by Pusan International Film Festival, 2000.
- . "The Films Of Makhmalbaf (Cinema, Politics & culture In Iran)" by: Eric Egan, 2005.
- . " Makhmalbaf at Large" (Review and Study) by: Hamid Dabashi, 2008.
- . "Mohsen Makhmalbaf: From Discourse to Dialogue" (Review and Study) by: Fernando González García, 2008.
Books by Makhmalbaf
Disgrace Two Blind Eyes The Sultan's Lake The Crystal Graden Death of Another Divine Arrow The Martyred Sheikh The Dumb Man's Dream First Volume The Dumb Man's Dream Second Volume The Dumb Man's Dream Third Volume Life is Color Introduction on Islamic Art Notes about Storywriting and Playwriting The Budhha was not demolished in Afghanistan, it collapsed out of shame The Bells Mother Legitimate Parliament Rajayi's School Birth of an Old Woman The Cyclist Marriage of the Blessed Time of Love Hail the Sun Bread and the Vase The Apple Travel To Kandehar To see and not to see
Films about Makhmalbaf
- The Closed Eyes of Mohsen
- Close up, by Abbas Kiarostami, 1990
- Friendly Persuasion: Iranian Cinema After the Revolution
- Cinema Is Nation's Language
- The Dumb Man's Dream
- Who's Who?
- Salam Cinema (German)"
- Cinema Is Nation's Language (Tadjik)"
Retrospective of Works
- 1. Iranian Film Festivals (France) 1989.
- 2. Rotterdam Festival (The Netherlands) 1989.
- 3. Hong Kong Festival (Hong Kong) 1991.
- 4. Bonn Cinémathèque (Germany) 1991.
- 5. La Rochelle Festival (France) 1991.
- 6. Tesaloniki Festival (Greece) 1995.
- 7. São Paulo Festival (Brazil) 1995.
- 8. Istanbul Festival (Turkey) 1996.
- 9. Turin Festival (Italy) 1996.
- 10. Singapore Festival (Singapore) 1996.
- 11. Chicago Festival (USA) 1996.
- 12. Beirut Festival (Lebanon) 1996.
- 13. India Festival (India) 1997.
- 14. Tokyo Festival (Japan) 1997.
- 15. The Netherlands Cinémathèque (The Netherlands) 1997.
- 16. Vienna Festival (Austria) 1997.
- 17. Cleveland Cinémathèque (USA) 1997.
- 18. UCLA (USA) 1997.
- 19. New York Museum of Modern Arts (USA) 1997.
- 20. Boston Museum of Modern Arts (USA) 1997.
- 21. Pacific Archives in Berkley (USA) 1997.
- 22. Vancouver Cinémathèque (Canada) 1997.
- 23. Toronto Cinémathèque (Canada) 1997.
- 24. Ontario Cinémathèque (Canada) 1997.
- 25. Montreal Cinémathèque (Canada) 1997.
- 26. Madras,Banglore,Viji Vada,Haydarabad, India 2001
- 27. Daka, Bangladesh 2002
- 28. Bosnia, 2002
- 29. Bulgaria, 2002
- 30. Munich International Film Festival, Germany 2006
- 31. Cine Del Sur International Film Festival, Spain 2008
- "All-Time 100 Movies". Time. February 12, 2005. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
- Guardian 2009 article
- La Biennale di Venezia
- Mohsen Makhmalbaf
- MacFarquhar, Neil (June 8, 1997). "1997 New York Times article describing the four periods into which Makhmalbaf divides his work.". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
- Combustible Celluloid film review - Gabbeh (1996), Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Shaghayegh Djodat, Hossein Moharami, dvd review
- Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson , ed. Film History. 3rd. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 610. Print.
- Axmaker, Sean (October 1, 2002). "Haunting 'Kandahar' a stark, surreal odyssey". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- Hamid Habashi. "Close Up: Iranian Cinema". Versobooks.com. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- [dead link]
- "Persian Poetry and Shahnameh Books - Culture of Iran from Mage Publishers". Mage.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mohsen Makhmalbaf|
- Makhmalbaf Film House (Official Website of Makhmalbaf's family: Mohsen - Marzieh - Samira - Maysam - Hana)
- Mohsen Makhmalbaf at the Internet Movie Database
- Firouzan Films Iranian Movie Hall of Fame Inductee Mohsen Makhmalbaf
- Worlds Transformed: Iranian Cinema and Social Vision
- Mohsen Makhmalbaf: Retrospective by Donato Totaro (1997)