|Sohrab Shaheed Salles|
Sohrab Shaheed Salles
28 June 1943|
|Died||2 July 1998
|Title||Sohrab Shaheed Salles|
Sohrab Shaheed Salles (Persian: سهراب شهید ثالث) (Alternative Dictation: Sohrab Shahid-Saless) (28 June 1944, Tehran – 2 July 1998, Chicago, Illinois) was an Iranian film director and screenwriter and one of the most celebrated figures in Iranian cinema in the 20th century. After 1976 he worked in the Cinema of Germany and was an important component of the film diaspora working in the German industry.
Sohrab Shaheed Salles was born in Tehran in 1944 and lived in Tehran. He studied film in Vienna and Paris. After returning to Iran, he first worked for the Ministry of Arts and Culture, where he made 22 films. In 1976, he left Iran for Germany, where he worked as a filmmaker until 1991, then moving to Chicago. He died in Chicago, IL in July 1998.
In his first feature, the milestone film A Simple Event (1973), he describes the everyday life of a ten-year-old boy living in a small town with an ill mother and a father struggling to make a living smuggling fish. In contrast, Still Life (1974) explores the monotony in the life of an old railway switchman – a film that won many prizes, including one at the 1974 Berlinale. In 1975 Sohrab directed Far from Home (1975).
In 1976 on moving to Germany Sohrab released Diary of a Lover (1976), Coming of Age (1976), and Utopia (1983). Utopia is a 186 minute film regarded by critics as a "hard ghetto film" and is the tale of a pimp and his five girls. The film was entered into the 33rd Berlin International Film Festival.
Towards his later career he mostly directed films for television. Between 1991 and 1992 he directed Rosen für Afrika, a Psychodrama about how injustice is turned into oblivion about an opportunity worker and a woman from the civil house of a marriage for 30 years . Soon the relationship fails due to the aggressive, also destructive tendencies of the man who enters a deep personal crisis. When the marriage coined/shaped of force and Psychoterror goes finally into the breaks, the man looks for comfort in the alcohol and becomes criminal. It was released on German television in 1991.
With A Simple Event Sohrab Shaheed Salles emerged on the Iranian film scene as a filmmaker with a distinctive style. Adopting an almost documentary style, Shaheed Salles records uneventful moments in the lives of ordinary people. He has said, "A Simple Event has no plot. It is only a report on the daily life of a boy". Working with a cast of non-professional local players, Sohrab constructed his film with realistic images that almost corresponded with the temporal flow of rural life. The film is so simple and unadorned that it creates the illusion of having been made with no prepared overall design.
For all its lyrical charm, A Simple Event must be considered as a prelude or a preparation for Sohrab's acclaimed film Still Life which was awarded the Silver Bear for best direction and the critics’ prize at the 24th Berlin International Film Festival in 1974. Still Life is the monotonous, uneventful life of a switchman living in a remote, desolate spot. For the old man and his wife everything ends on the day he receives his retirement papers. A young switchman arrives and the old man has to move... to nowhere.
This poetical and elegiac picture is regarded as one of the best works produced in Iranian cinema. Salles defends basic human values, and at the same time exposes the horrible cruelty upon which the bureaucratic system is based. All his life the old man repeats a simple job: lowering the fence on the road intersecting the railway whenever a train passes. And Sohrab presents the dull monotony of this life with an appropriate rhythm.
Awards and accolades
Sohrab Shaheed Salles won 12 professional film awards and 3 nominations during his career.
Filmography as Director
- 1973 Yek etefagh-e sadeh (A Simple Event)
- 1974 Tabiat-e bijan (Still Life)
- 1975 Dar Ghorbat (Far from Home)
- 1976 Tagebuch eines Liebenden (Diary of a lover)
- 1976 Reifezeit
- 1979 Die Langen Ferien der Lotte H. Eisner
- 1980 Ordnung
- 1981 Anton P. Cechov - Ein Leben (TV)
- 1983 Empfänger unbekannt
- 1983 Utopia
- 1984 Der Weidenbaum
- 1985 Hans - Ein Junge in Deutschland (TV)
- 1987 Wechselbalg (TV)
- 1991 Rosen für Afrika (TV)
- Sohrab Shahid Saless at the Internet Movie Database
- http://www.saless.de - a German homepage, devoted to the life and work of Saless