For two consecutive decades and in various Iranian critics' polls, The Deer has been revered as “the best Iranian film ever made”. Known for his rape/revenge drama Gheysar (1969) – which changed the course of Iranian cinema – director Masoud Kimiai adds an explicitly political dimension to the story of his typically defiant characters. Here, in a nod to Hollywood's “buddy film”, the familiar masculine hero of Iranian popular cinema is prompted into social action, far beyond the usual romantic conquests. This is 70s cinema in a nutshell: politically engaged, sincere, angry, tragic.
Kaveh Askari is an associate professor in the film studies program at Michigan State University and author of Making Movies into Art: Picture Craft from the Magic Lantern to Early Hollywood (BFI, 2014). His second monograph, Relaying Cinema in Midcentury Iran, is forthcoming from the University of California Press.