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Googoosh: Iran's Daughter (2000)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 9 December 2000 (USA)
An impressionist feature-length documentary film, Googoosh: Iran's Daughter, aims to locate the "silenced" legendary Iranian pop singer/actress in the midst of Iran's social, political, and... See full summary »




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Herself (archive footage)
Daniel Szumilas ...
Emanuela Szumilas ...


An impressionist feature-length documentary film, Googoosh: Iran's Daughter, aims to locate the "silenced" legendary Iranian pop singer/actress in the midst of Iran's social, political, and cultural transformation. Written by Kamran Nouri <atashproductions@aol.com>

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Her silence made her the voice of a nation




Not Rated




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9 December 2000 (USA)  »

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Taken from the Asian Reporter by Polo
5 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

Still Iran's Daughter

Googoosh: Iran's Daughter A film by Farhad Zamani First Run Features, 2000 English & Farsi with English subtitles DVD or VHS, 158 minutes, $29.95 By Polo

I could humbly decline to speak. I should find me a savvy Teherani to help out — I would probably save myself from sounding dumb. Because this is hard. This is not just a gripping biography about Googoosh, a stage and screen icon doubtless as compelling to modern Iranians as Marilyn Monroe remains for us. This film also chronicles Iran's dizzying drive toward modernity, then the country's tortured tumble into an anachronistic theocracy. Farhad Zamani does all that.

Googoosh: Iran's Daughter is a difficult documentary. It takes work. In fact, it takes two hours and 38 minutes. Mr. Zamani's research is impressive. He says he sat through over 30 Googoosh movies, from her early days as a child actor to the heady days just before Shah Reza Pahlavi's fall. He personally interviewed 20 musicians and lyricists, professors and clerics, family and friends.

What emerges is a fascinating portrayal of a woman embodying something more than that uneasy mélange of star power and vulnerability that Western voyeurs witnessed in the arc of Marilyn and Elvis, Marvin or Janis. Googoosh is a proper noun, a verb, and an adjective. Googoosh, as person and phenom, meant as much to popular Persian culture as the Beatles meant to our generation. She set the standard, not by clever design in the way Madonna smartly packaged her own pop authority, but by the artist's immediate resonance with the aspirations of a rapidly evolving urban Persian society.

She broke so many rules. Maybe most of them. Whether it was Googoosh or her handlers, whether it was she or her act, is hard to say. Orthodox Shi'ia authorities made no distinctions. She was silenced. She makes no appearance in her film. The director, Mr. Zamani, makes it clear who was punished for Googoosh's public persona, for the pop culture that swelled around her act.

According to Mr. Zamani, the true beauty of the woman — whether we're talking about the public icon or cynically used public performer — is that she stayed. She could have run. She could've exiled the way many educated and most urbane Iranians did. She would've sung in front of steadily diminishing houses of homesick émigrés in Houston or L.A. But she stayed. And thus silenced for 21 years, she remains Iran's Daughter.

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