The Man Who Wouldn’t Die

Posted by By at 1 May, at 12 : 13 PM Print

The Man Who Wouldn’t Die

From Right: Hazhir Daryush ,Siamak Pourzand ,Samuel Khachikian ,Iraj Jamshidi and Bahman Maghsoudlou talking about problems in Iranian Cinema.

I deeply regret to announce the passing of one of Iran’s most important defenders of freedom of expression, Mr. Siamak Pourzand. Mr. Pourzand died in his home in Tehran. He was 80.

Mr. Pourzand was always at the center of anything related to art or cinema in Iran, subjects he never failed to engage with the utmost love and passion. He worked in his homeland for more than fifty years as a reporter, writer, artistic consultant, critic and editor-in-chief of various film magazines. He was a key player, in one way or another, in the founding of all of Iran’s earlier film festivals. As such, he was one of the most influential figures in Iran’s cinematic history.

His fierce, brave, outspoken dedication to freedom of expression, both in the arts and, in his capacity as a journalist, the press, did not come without a price. In 2001, Mr. Pourzand was arrested and sentenced to eleven years in prison. He spent many years under house arrest and was forbidden to leave Iran, which left him alone and away from his wife, Ms. Mehrangiz Kar, a lawyer and human rights activist living in exile in the US, who has also spent time in prison in Iran for her rights work.

I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Pourzand and calling him my close friend for more than forty years, since the days when I was just a young film critic starting out. His dedication to principle was matched only by his loyalty to his friends and loved ones, for whom he would sacrifice anything. He was generous, intelligent, hardworking, innovative and always positive. News of his death has devastated me, but I find some comfort in the fact that I was able to remain in constant touch with him throughout the years. His life and his work will never be forgotten. My sincerest condolences go out to our friends, colleagues and especially to my close friend, Mehrangiz Kar, and their three daughters, Lili, Azadeh and Banafsheh.

Interview with Radio Farda on May 8, 2011 about Mr. Siamak Pourzand



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