Mohsen Makhmalbaf is an Iranian film director, writer, and producer who has been making films since the late 1970s.

His films are known for their poetic and surreal imagery, as well as their exploration of complex philosophical themes.

Here are some of his best films that are must-watch for any cinephile:

“Gabbeh” (1996): This visually stunning film is set in the rugged countryside of Iran and tells the story of a young woman named Gabbeh who weaves a beautiful rug that tells the story of her life. The film is a lyrical meditation on memory, love, and the power of storytelling.

“Close-Up” (1990): This film is a unique hybrid of documentary and fiction that tells the true story of a man who impersonated the famous Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The film explores questions of identity, art, and the nature of truth, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in Iranian cinema.

Best Mohsen Makhmalbaf Films

These films cover Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s rich and varied filmography. His films are characterized by their poetic and surreal imagery, as well as their exploration of complex philosophical themes.

They are a must-watch for anyone interested in the power of cinema to explore the human condition.

1. Boycott (1986)

“Boycott” is a 1986 Taiwanese drama film directed by renowned filmmaker, Huang Hsin-yao. Here are some reasons why “Boycott” is a notable film:

Social commentary: The film offers a scathing commentary on the political and social issues facing Taiwan during the 1980s, including censorship, corruption, and the suppression of dissenting voices.

It examines the relationship between power, money, and the media, and exposes the ways in which these forces can be used to silence and control people.

Unique storytelling: “Boycott” is told in a non-linear fashion, using flashbacks and multiple narrators to weave together a complex and multi-layered narrative.

This approach allows the film to explore different perspectives and offer a more nuanced view of events.

A landmark of Taiwan New Cinema: “Boycott” is considered a landmark of Taiwan New Cinema, a movement that emerged in the 1980s and brought a new level of artistic and social consciousness to Taiwanese cinema.

   

The film is an important part of the movement’s legacy, and continues to be studied and admired by filmmakers and critics around the world.

Overall, “Boycott” is a powerful and politically-charged film that remains relevant today, offering a searing indictment of corruption and censorship in Taiwan.

The film is a testament to the power of cinema as a tool for social commentary and political critique.

BOYCOTT
  • Don Mosey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1 Page - 07/01/1986 (Publication Date) - PENGUIN BOOKS LTD (Publisher)

2. The Cyclist (1989)

“The Cyclist” (1989) is an Iranian film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film is a powerful and thought-provoking commentary on the human condition, exploring themes of poverty, desperation, and the lengths to which people will go to survive.

The film tells the story of a poor Afghan refugee who makes a living by riding a bicycle around a circular track for days on end.

As the days wear on, the cyclist becomes increasingly desperate, pedaling faster and faster in the hopes of winning a cash prize that will help him and his family escape poverty.

The film is a haunting and poignant depiction of the human struggle for survival, and the impact of poverty and deprivation on the lives of ordinary people.

“The Cyclist” is notable for its simple yet powerful storytelling, its stark and evocative cinematography, and its honest and unflinching portrayal of the challenges faced by many people in the developing world.

The film is widely regarded as one of Makhmalbaf’s most important works, and as a masterful example of Iranian cinema.

The Cyclist [DVD]
  • Firouz Kiani, Mohammad Reza Maleki (Actors)
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

3. Marriage of the Blessed (1989)

“Marriage of the Blessed” (1989) is a visually stunning and allegorical film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The film tells the story of a wealthy couple who live in a luxurious mansion and are unable to have children.

In their desperation, they turn to a group of homeless children who live in the city dump and offer to adopt them.

The film explores themes of poverty, wealth, and the corrupting influence of power. It uses surreal imagery and dreamlike sequences to convey its message, and is known for its striking visual style and powerful performances.

“Marriage of the Blessed” is a complex and challenging film that rewards careful viewing and contemplation.

It is a masterful work of art that demonstrates Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s skill as a filmmaker and his ability to use cinema to explore the deepest questions of human existence.

Marriage of the Blessed (Sub) (Arousi-ye Khouban) [VHS]
  • Mohsen Zaehtab, Roya Nonahali, Mahmud Bigham (Actors)
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

4. The Peddler (1987)

“The Peddler” (Mofateh) is a 1987 Iranian drama film directed by the acclaimed filmmaker, Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Here are some reasons why “The Peddler” is a notable film:

Humanistic storytelling: The film is a simple yet powerful exploration of the human condition, told through the story of a traveling salesman, or peddler, who goes from village to village selling his wares.

The film is essentially a series of encounters between the peddler and the people he meets on his journey, each of whom has their own story and struggles.

Cultural significance: “The Peddler” is an important film in the history of Iranian cinema, and a milestone in Makhmalbaf’s career.

   

The film was made at a time when the Iranian film industry was beginning to thrive, and helped to establish Makhmalbaf as one of the most important voices in Iranian cinema.

Overall, “The Peddler” is a beautifully crafted film that offers a nuanced and compassionate portrait of life in rural Iran.

It is a testament to the power of cinema to tell meaningful stories, and remains an important work of Iranian cinema to this day.

The Peddler [VHS]
  • Moharram Zaynalzadeh, Esmail Soltanian, Morteza Zarrabi (Actors)
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Director)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

5. Once Upon a Time, Cinema (1992)

“Once Upon a Time, Cinema” (1992) is an Iranian film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film is a tribute to the history of Iranian cinema, exploring the evolution of Iranian filmmaking over the course of the 20th century.

The film is structured as a series of vignettes, each of which tells a different story from a different period of Iranian cinema.

The vignettes range from early silent films to contemporary movies, and explore a wide variety of themes and styles.

The film includes both fictionalized scenes and real footage from classic Iranian films, and offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and cultural context of Iranian cinema.

“Once Upon a Time, Cinema” is notable for its inventive and engaging storytelling, its masterful use of archival footage, and its deep understanding of the history and evolution of Iranian cinema.

The film is widely regarded as one of Makhmalbaf’s most important works, and as a testament to the power of cinema to capture and reflect the complexities of human experience.

Once Upon a Time: The Complete Series: Seasons 1-7
  • Once Upon a Time - Complete Seasons 1-7- 35-Disc Box Set ( Once Upon a Time - Seasons One and Two )
  • Once Upon a Time - Complete Seasons 1-7- 35-Disc Box Set
  • Once Upon a Time - Seasons One and Two
  • Jamie Dornan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison (Actors)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)

6. Gabbeh (1996)

“Gabbeh” (1996) is a beautiful and lyrical film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film tells the story of a young woman named Gabbeh who is depicted in a traditional Persian rug (also called gabbeh).

She is in love with a mysterious horseman, but her family is against their relationship. The film is shot in the stunning landscapes of Iran and tells a story that is as much about love and longing as it is about the cultural traditions of the region.

“Gabbeh” is a visually striking film, with rich colors and textures that reflect the beauty of Persian art and culture.

The film also features traditional music and dance, adding to the immersive experience. However, beyond its visual appeal, “Gabbeh” is also a deeply poetic and symbolic film that explores themes of tradition, identity, and the power of storytelling.

“Gabbeh” is considered one of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s most iconic films, and a masterpiece of Iranian cinema.

It received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.

It is a must-see for anyone interested in the beauty of Persian culture and the power of cinema to tell stories.

Gabbeh [DVD]
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf; Shaghayeh Djodat, Hossein Moharami, Rogheih Moharami, Abbas Sayah, Parvaneh...
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
  • 09/20/2005 (Publication Date) - New Yorker Video (Publisher)

7. The Silence (1998)

“The Silence” (Tystnaden) is a 1998 Swedish drama film directed by Ingmar Bergman. Here are some reasons why “The Silence” is a notable film:

Powerful exploration of human relationships: “The Silence” is a character-driven film that focuses on the complex dynamics between two sisters, Anna and Ester, and Anna’s young son, Johan.

The film explores themes such as loneliness, intimacy, and power dynamics, and offers a powerful portrayal of the intricacies of human relationships.

Cinematic style: As with many of Bergman’s films, “The Silence” features a distinct cinematic style that combines visual poetry with psychological depth.

The film’s stark black and white cinematography, long takes, and minimalist set design create a sense of intense emotional intimacy, while also conveying a sense of existential despair.

Cultural significance: “The Silence” is considered a masterpiece of Swedish cinema and a significant work in Bergman’s oeuvre.

It was also notable for its depiction of female sexuality and nudity, which was controversial at the time of its release.

Overall, “The Silence” is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that rewards careful viewing and reflection.

It is a testament to Bergman’s skill as a filmmaker and his ability to craft stories that resonate with audiences on both a personal and a philosophical level.

The Silence (1998) ( Sokout ) ( Le Silence ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - France ]
  • The Silence (1998) ( Sokout ) ( Le Silence )
  • The Silence (1998)
  • Sokout
  • Le Silence
  • Tahmineh Normatova, Nadereh Abdelahyeva, Goibibi Ziadolahyeva (Actors)

8. Kandahar (2001)

“Kandahar” (2001) is an Iranian film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film is a powerful and thought-provoking commentary on the impact of war and conflict on ordinary people, particularly women, and the urgent need for compassion and understanding in times of crisis.

The film tells the story of a young Afghan woman who, after receiving a letter from her sister, decides to journey to Kandahar to try and prevent her sister from committing suicide.

Along the way, she encounters a series of obstacles and dangers, including land mines, bandits, and the harsh and unforgiving landscape of Afghanistan.

The film is a haunting and poignant depiction of the human cost of war, and the devastating impact it can have on the lives of innocent people.

“Kandahar” is notable for its powerful and unflinching portrayal of the realities of life in Afghanistan, particularly for women, and for its call for greater empathy and understanding in the face of conflict and adversity.

The film is widely regarded as one of Makhmalbaf’s most important works, and as a masterful example of Iranian cinema.

Kandahar
  • Nelofer Pazira, Hassan Tantai, Ike Ogut (Actors)
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Director) - Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Writer)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

9. Sex & Philosophy (2005)

“Sex & Philosophy” (2005) is an avant-garde film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film explores the relationship between sex, power, and language in a highly stylized and abstract way.

The film features a series of vignettes that challenge conventional ideas about sexuality and gender roles.

The film is not for everyone, as it is highly experimental and at times can be difficult to understand.

However, it is a thought-provoking work of art that pushes boundaries and challenges viewers to reconsider their preconceived notions about sex, power, and language.

The film is also notable for its use of stunning visual imagery and its unconventional approach to storytelling.

“Sex & Philosophy” is a unique and daring film that showcases Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s skills as an artist and filmmaker.

It is a film that will appeal to those who are interested in exploring new ideas and challenging conventional thinking.

Sale
On Getting Off: Sex and Philosophy
  • Hardcover Book
  • Young, Damon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 06/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Scribe US (Publisher)

10. The Gardener (2012)

“The Gardener” (2012) is a documentary film directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The film explores the history and significance of the Baha’i faith, a monotheistic religion that originated in Iran in the 19th century, through the lens of a gardener who tends to the beautiful and serene Baha’i gardens in Haifa, Israel.

The film follows the gardener as he goes about his work, providing a glimpse into the daily routines and practices that maintain the stunning beauty of the gardens.

Along the way, the film also delves into the teachings and beliefs of the Baha’i faith, including its emphasis on peace, unity, and social justice.

“The Gardener” is notable for its breathtaking cinematography and its profound exploration of the human capacity for spiritual and emotional growth.

The film offers a moving and deeply humanistic perspective on the role of faith and tradition in modern society, and has been widely praised for its ability to capture the essence of the Baha’i faith and its teachings.

Sale
The Gardener
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Grian (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 120 Pages - 04/10/1999 (Publication Date) - Thorsons Pub (Publisher)

3 Characteristics of Mohsen Makhmalbaf Films

Mohsen Makhmalbaf is a highly respected filmmaker who has made significant contributions to Iranian cinema. Here are three characteristics that are often present in his films:

Social and Political Commentary: Makhmalbaf’s films often deal with social and political issues.

He is known for his critical approach to Iranian society and his willingness to challenge the status quo. His films often highlight the struggles of marginalized groups and explore the effects of poverty, oppression, and violence.

Symbolism and Metaphor: Makhmalbaf’s films often make use of symbolism and metaphor to convey complex ideas.

He is known for his use of visual imagery and poetic language to explore the inner lives of his characters and convey his messages.

Humanistic Themes: Makhmalbaf’s films are often deeply humanistic, focusing on the lives of ordinary people and their struggles to find meaning and purpose in their lives.

He is known for his compassion and empathy towards his characters, even when they are flawed or struggling.

Overall, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s films are marked by their thoughtfulness, their engagement with social and political issues, and their use of symbolism and metaphor to explore complex themes.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Mohsen Makhmalbaf Films

“The Silence” (Tystnaden) is a 1998 Swedish drama film directed by Ingmar Bergman. Here are some reasons why “The Silence” is a notable film:

Powerful exploration of human relationships: “The Silence” is a character-driven film that focuses on the complex dynamics between two sisters, Anna and Ester, and Anna’s young son, Johan.

The film explores themes such as loneliness, intimacy, and power dynamics, and offers a powerful portrayal of the intricacies of human relationships.

Cinematic style: As with many of Bergman’s films, “The Silence” features a distinct cinematic style that combines visual poetry with psychological depth.

The film’s stark black and white cinematography, long takes, and minimalist set design create a sense of intense emotional intimacy, while also conveying a sense of existential despair.

Cultural significance: “The Silence” is considered a masterpiece of Swedish cinema and a significant work in Bergman’s oeuvre.

It was also notable for its depiction of female sexuality and nudity, which was controversial at the time of its release.

Overall, “The Silence” is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that rewards careful viewing and reflection.

It is a testament to Bergman’s skill as a filmmaker and his ability to craft stories that resonate with audiences on both a personal and a philosophical level.

Best Mohsen Makhmalbaf Films – Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Mohsen Makhmalbaf is a highly acclaimed Iranian filmmaker with a long and distinguished career in cinema.

His films are known for their thought-provoking themes, powerful social commentary, and visually stunning cinematography.

Some of his most notable films include “Gabbeh” (1996), “A Moment of Innocence” (1996), “The Silence” (1998), and “Kandahar” (2001).

Each of these films is notable for its unique perspective on the human experience, as well as for its artistic merit and technical skill.

Makhmalbaf’s films are also known for their ability to shed light on important social and political issues in Iran and beyond.

Through his work, Makhmalbaf has become an important voice in the global conversation about human rights, social justice, and the power of art to effect change.

Overall, Makhmalbaf’s films are a testament to the enduring power of cinema as a means of exploring the complexities and contradictions of the human experience.

His work continues to inspire and challenge audiences around the world, and his legacy as one of Iran’s most important and influential filmmakers is assured.