Fifi Howls from Happiness: An awarded Documentary on Iranian Artist Bahman Mohassess running in Cinemas now

Mitra Farahani’s lyrical documentary explores the enigma of provocative artist Bahman Mohassess, the so-called “Persian Picasso,” whose acclaimed paintings and sculptures dominated pre-revolutionary Iran. Irreverent and uncompromising, a gay man in a hostile world, Mohassess had a conflicted relationship with his homeland-revered by elites in the art scene and praised as a national icon, only to be censored later by an oppressive regime. Known for his iconoclastic art as well as his scathing declarations, Mohasses abandoned the country over 30 years ago for a simple, secluded life in Italy.


Critics Pick “Addictively fascinating…The lovely meeting of artistic sensibilities makes this doc sing.” -Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

Five stars! “Stunningly multifaceted…surprising and deeply affecting.” – Keith Uhlich, Time Out NY

“Thoughtful, moving…A portrait of the artist as a refusenik, a recluse, a survivor and a stubborn question mark, “Fifi Howls From Happiness” registers, by turns, as a celebration, an excavation and an increasingly urgent rescue mission.” Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“A fascinating portrait.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety

“The most startlingly unexpected Iranian triumph at Telluride was Mitra Farahani’s FIFI HOWLS FROM HAPPINESS, an unconventional documentary about forgotten Iranian artist Bahman Mohassess. Mohassess, who died in 2010, was a fantastic character, a viciously witty gay guy who cut a stylish swath through Europe and makes wicked fun of his dim-bulb oppressors. In the film, Farahani, gorgeous and stylishly feminine, spars skillfully with the artist, deftly penetrating his defenses through sheer intelligence and knowledge of his work, like Truffaut interviewing Hitchcock.” – Tim Appelo, The Hollywood Reporter

“A joyous celebration of freedom to create, to destroy, to live without regret.” – Lincoln Film Center

“When a film about an artist becomes itself a transcendent work of art.” – Peter Sellars

“Exceptionally clever. The final sequence makes for unforgettable cinema.” – Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight

Awards & Festivals

  • Winner! Buenos Aires Indendent Film Festival 2014 – International Competition
  • Telluride Film Festival- Official Selection
  • New York Film Festival – Official Selection
  • Berlin International Film Festival – Official Selection
  • Outfest 2014 – Official Selection

1 thought on “Fifi Howls from Happiness: An awarded Documentary on Iranian Artist Bahman Mohassess running in Cinemas now

  1. Pingback: Retrospective of Iranian artist Bahman Mohasses at Tehran galleries | The other Iran

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