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Friday, 3 July 2015

Bologna Diary Six - Night of the Hunchback...

Ehsan Khoshbakht ‘s introduction to Night of the Hunchback (Farrokh Ghaffari, Iran, 1965)was quick to make the point that the director was not a skilled film-maker. But he was also quick to point out the influence that Ghaffari had had as a curator, an archivist and a critic – an all-round animateur of and for the Iranian cinema during a period of relative liberalism in Iran’s troubled twentieth century. Night of the Hunchback is a clever enough concoction, a film which takes place over the course of an evening – incident piling on frustrating incident, after an actor drops dead on the way home from a late night private performance during which he’s been asked to pass on a slip of paper to someone called “The Boss”. His companions have to deal with the problem of the body and nobody thinks about going straight to the police! Things get complicated as the body passes in to the control of various others, including “the Boss” himself, a hairdresser with a smuggling business on the side, neighbours at a raucous party playing well-known American pop songs and a leather clad bikie who has no bike to ride. All the while the fashionably dressed woman who wrote the note is trying to track the carcass down. It’s a slice of various strata of Iranian society, plus some noir plus Laurel and Hardy and there was no need for excuses and the crowd which lined the walls of Bologna's Scorsese Cinema gave it a worthy reception....

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