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Fifi Howls from Happiness

An act of recovery, and an entrancing documentary construction that appears to weave its own form as it proceeds, according to the inspirations and demands of its jubilant, egotistical and irascible subject. That subject is the Iranian painter and sculptor Bahman Mohasses, who was a celebrated and iconoclastic figure in the pre-revolutionary 60s and 70s, known for his art as well as his merciless public pronouncements. Mohasses remained in Iran after the revolution, but he frequently traveled in secret to Italy, which he finally made his home in 2006. Throughout the years, many of his works were destroyed by the new government, and many more by Mohasses himself. Filmmaker Mitra Farhani tracked down Mohasses in a Roman hotel and filmed him during the last six months of his life. The poetic self-portrait that they made together is a joyous celebration of freedom—to create, to destroy, to indulge, to pontificate and make withering judgments, to live without regret. [Synopsis courtesy of Film Society of Lincoln Center]