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Iranian film director Dariush Mehrjui and his wife found stabbed to death in their home

Iranian film director Dariush Mehrjui and his wife were stabbed to death in their home
Iranian film director Dariush Mehrjui and his wife were stabbed to death in their home Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By David Mouriquand
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While authorities gave no speculation on a motive, the killings come in the wake of a crackdown against critics of the Tehran regime.

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Acclaimed Iranian film director Dariush Mehrjui and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadifar, were stabbed to death in their home by an unknown assailant, state media reported Sunday (15 October).

The official IRNA news agency quoted Hossein Fazeli, a judiciary official, as saying that Mehrjhi and his wife were discovered dead with knife wounds in their necks.

Fazeli said the director's daughter, Mona Mehrjui, found the bodies when she went to visit her father Saturday (14 October) night at the home in a suburb about 30 kilometers west of Tehran.

The report said authorities were investigating and gave no speculation on a motive, though Mohammadifar had complained about a knife threat on social media in recent weeks.

The murders fuel suspicions over the involvement of the authorities, coming in the wake of a crackdown against opponents of the Tehran regime. Mehrjui, 83, was known as cofounder of Iran’s film new wave in the early 1970s that mainly focused on realism, and had been a long-time critic of state censorship. Last year, he angrily protested against a government decision to ban his latest film.

His killing also follows the recent anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's morality police, which sparked an uprising and threatened the Islamic republic.

Mehrjui studied cinema in the US as a young man at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the early 1960s. He later lived in France for five years.

He first rose to national and international prominence with his 1969 film The Cow, which tells the story about a villager's obsession with the titular animal. His other most notable films include Hamoun, The Pear Tree and Leila.

He received many awards, including a Silver Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival in 1998 and a Golden Seashell at the San Sebastián International Film Festival 1993. His films were celebrated at international film festivals, but some were not released in Iran due to censorship.

Additional sources • AP, INRA

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