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Author Topic: "The Queen and I" a film directed by Iranian filmaker Nahid Persson Servestani  (Read 4291 times)
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Clover

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« on: June 17, 2009, 11:18:59 PM »

I just watched "The Queen and I" on On Demand/HBO documentaries and found the footage and interviews to be very good.

The documentary was directed by Iranian filmaker Nahid Persson Servestani who also lives in exile in Sweden.

This is a highly personal film about the wife of the late Shah of Iran who lives in exile in both Paris, France and Maryland. You get to see inside Farah's homes. There is also brief footage of her son, his wife, and grandaughters.

They visit Leila's grave in Paris and the Shah's tomb in Egypt. Two very emotional visits.

I am surprised Farah shared so many personal details about her relationship with her husband, her pain and suffering over the years. She even talks about a possible rumored affair the Shah had and her desire not to remarry.

It is worth seeing. I was deeply touched, if not haunted, by this film and will not forget it anytime soon.
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 11:37:07 PM »

It was shown at the beginning of the year here in Germany and I was also totally impressed by the documentary. It was wonderful to see the both sides and how the women to experienced this difficult period of Persia/Iran. It is a few months past and I cannot remember every conversation but I still know the intensity of them. And like you I was really touched by some moments. By the memories of Farah Diba as well as by the memories of Nahid Persson Servestani.

Definitely worth to see it!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 12:20:12 AM by anirac » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 11:49:11 PM »

anirac,
Glad you saw it and felt the same way!  Hug
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2009, 12:32:20 AM »

I saw it too.It was shown here last week to mark the Iranian elections.

What impressed me most was Nahid's personal journey and reflection on the events that had happend and how they had impacted and continued to impact her life-her guilt at her brother's death, her ambivalent feelings towards the public and private Farah and how by the end of the film she was able to see Farah as just a woman like her who had undergone a difficult transition.

Most memorable quote:"I can say that I've become a Farah follower, but I'll never be a royalist."

I am suprised that Farah agreed to contnue filming even after they reached a hitch where she was very concerned with how she would be portrayed.
It was also sad to see how the events had affected the Pavlavi children.
I am glad to have watched the film and  I learnt a lot from it.

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Clover

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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 12:45:15 AM »

Jazzy,
I am happy you liked the film as well!  Hug
I agree the filmaker had her own demons just like Farah. Iran had been a mixture of good and bad experiences for both of them.

I agree that it is so sad how the Pavlavi children suffered after their parents were exiled.

The best part of the film was the change in the filmaker and how she finally accepted Farah as a woman who had survived the worst of times and more personal tragedies than most despite her privilege, wealth and previous status as a Queen. Farah has suffered as deeply as the filmaker who was raised in poverty: this is the magic and beauty of the film IMO.

Personally, I think Farah was incredibly brave to continue making this film after she realized how ambilvalent the filmaker was about the Shah. Now I see Farah as more complex than I ever realized in the past.
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Jazzy

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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2009, 01:04:52 AM »

Clover  Hug back at you.
I came away wanting to learn more about the Shah and his family as well as wanting to watch more of Nahid's films.

But I did wonder: When Farah told Nahid that she should have written to her and told her about their family situation, would she really have done anything to ease their situation? Was she really genuine or just saying it after the fact,saying what was expected of her?
 
I think hindsight is a great thing and it was good that Farah  got to see the events from another perspective, particularly when Nahid finally got the courage to confront Farah about the Shah and the  revolution etc. I kind of feel that Farah has never allowed herself to reflect on her role in what happened as well and also got the feeling that she continues to delude herself that she still has that position, particularly when all these Iranians in exile still treat her as their queen.

It made me think of the Ex-King of Greece and the family in exile.
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2009, 05:24:07 AM »

Jazzy,
I recommend reading the book Farah Pahlavi wrote a book about her marriage to the Shah entitled "An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah" (2003). The publication of the former empress's memoirs attracted international interest. It was a best-seller in Europe, and called "a candid, straightforward account," the Washington Post called it "engrossing," and the New York Times, Elaine Sciolino, the paper's Paris bureau chief, gave the book a less than flattering review, describing it as "well translated" but "full of anger and bitterness."

I loved the anger she expressed in her book. She was still grieving the loss of Leila when she wrote the book and she named names and blamed individuals for her husband's exile, the conditions the family had to endure, and how it all caused Leila's death - she basically said that these people had Leila's blood on thier hands. It was a very powerful book.

I think it was good that these two Iranian exiles worked together on this film. It was better that Farah didn't know too much about Nahid because she probably would not have made the film and like you said it was good for Farah to see her experiences from an entirely different perspective. 

Farah probably had to wear blinders during her marriage to the Shah, he was her husband and the father of ther children, she was in no position to face the reality of all that he was involved with. I think Farah is gradually coming to terms with the good, bad and ugly about her husband and all that happened in Iran when he was in power.

I think coming to terms with her past will be a long and slow process for Farah for all the reasons you stated, her luxurious surroundings: she lives in Paris, France, Potomac, Maryland, and Eygpt. She is very wealthy. She regularly interacts with people who still see her as Queen.
 
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2009, 01:09:48 PM »

I completely missed that movie, but I will certainly look out for it....
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2009, 10:24:54 PM »

Sounds like an interesting documentary and if it is shown here I will watch it.

Most of the documentaries about the Shah tend to romanticise the man, imo, and portray him as the victim of the Iranian Revolution whch considering some ofthe things he did I find very distasteful. However, I like the fact that this sow appears to have been made by somebody who had more ambivalent feelings towards him.
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2011, 01:18:35 PM »

Must bump this thread a bit..

On Thursday, Nahid Persson who made "The Queen and I" will visit the Swedish film institute "The Actors studio"!
http://translate.google.c...ani-till-Actors-Studio%2F

The documentary about Farah Diba is so well done, and so is the others of Nahidīs documentaries.

The Queen and I can be found in English here, part 1-9:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7es37SDyqPc

TRAILER  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLQ9DbhnIRQ

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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2011, 04:07:14 PM »

i must agree with you that the movie is great , it's really unique kind of documentaries i believe  Snore
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2012, 10:47:43 AM »

I've seen this documentary,
and I highly recommend watching it,
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2012, 11:08:34 AM »

Here is a interview with fantastic Farah about the documentary:
http://www.rferl.org/cont..._Documentary/1380920.html

"I am really hopeful and I will not give up hope for the freedom of Iran, for the improvement of Iran's situation. I hope that Iran will regain the respected place it had in the international community -- and I greet all the women and young people; workers and intellectuals and villagers; and all Iranians who, despite all the problems and pressure, are still fighting to have a better life and for the future of their country. I always believe that light will win over darkness."

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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2017, 01:24:47 PM »

The documentary in youtube (working link), with English and Swedish subtitles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVWiqpSW5Wc

I watched it yesterday for the first time. Like all of you I thought it was great. The filmmaker was a communist in her youth and took part in the revolution that overthrew the Shah, so there's no "romanticised" history. Farah came across really, really well. Charming, honest and grounded in reality. Understandably, due to her age and life, she sweeps certain criticisms of her husband and his government under the table. Also, when the filmmaker asks Farah to understand her position when she was young and her mother supported her 8 children and a sick husband she answers that she should have written to the palace and Farah would have helped them. I believe she would have helped the family if she had known about their problems, but that can't be the answer to every issue.
Farah also surprised me when she talked openly about Leila's suicide, sadly since the film came out another of her children committed suicide.
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