Nº6 2020 (3)

Farrokhzad / Golestan: Synergies between Cinema and Poetry

Luis Aceituno, Javier Leiva & Fernando Yubero (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)


On February 13th, 1967 the poet Forough Farrokhzad passed away in a traffic accident in Tehran. Besides a successful literary career, she left behind a brief filmography, as a result of her professional and personal relationship with filmmaker Ebrahim Golestan. Farrokhzad’s cinematic work is often remembered for her prizewinning documentary short film The House is Black (1962), but her trace on cinema goes beyond her only output as a filmmaker. She worked for 8 years at Ebrahim Golestan’s production company, performing different roles. One of them would be film editor, a task she carried out in A Fire (Ebrahim Golestan, 1961).

Through the comparative analysis of both works we offer insights on how the vocational attitude of each filmmaker is reflected on the visual text—namely, Farrokhzad’s lyrical look as a poet and Golestan’s epic look as a filmmaker. In the role exchange that both perform between creation and creation, one can be appreciate different, very eloquent, stylistic choices. On the one hand, Forough Farrokhzad, as an editor, adopts rhythmic structures common to verses, while as a director she prefers an approach closer to the dialogical meaning generated between image and voice-over. On the other hand, Ebrahim Golestan relies on visual stimulation when he directs. At the same time, he adopts a dry and functional editing style in The House is Black.

This diptych allows us to establish a series of stilemas that transcend the author’s conceptualization as réalisateur. This way, it expands the dominant viewpoint that the film career of the Iranian writer ends and starts with the short film made in 1962. Her vocation as a poet transcends the different media she works on to function within the diverse cinematic operations she undertook. Furthermore, this allows us to offer an expanded photography of the synergies created between Farrokhzad and Golestan in their unknown and underground collaboration; a fruitful relationship that brings to the fore how, operating within the field of postcolonial studies, they were able to subvert the initial purpose of both institutional documentaries. 

To conclude, this research establishes a broader understanding of Forough Farrokhzad’s authorship. Simultaneously, it clarifies how both her professional labor and Golestan’s can be detected in their respective works, underlining the results of such creative symbiosis.


  • Kamali Dehghan, Saeed (2017). “Former lover of the poet known as Iran’s Sylvia Plath breaks his silence”, The Guardian, February 12.
  • Khoshbakht, Ehsan (2016) “Chris Marker on Forough Farrokhzad”, Notes on cinematographe, May 19.
  • Rosenbaum, Jonathan (1997) “The House is Black”, Chicago Reader, March 17.
  • Rosenbaum, Jonathan (2010) “Radical Humanism and the Coexistence of Film and Poetry in The House is Black”, in Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia: Film Culture in Transition. Chicago: University Press of Chicago, 260-265.
  • Varza, Roxanne (2014) “Picture Poesis: The interplay of poetry, image and ethnography in Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black”, Off Screen, 18.
  • Zahedi, Farshad (2009). “Irán, cine y modernidad”, Revista de Occidente, 343, 33-63.

How to cite this article: Aceituno, L., Leiva, J. and Yubero, F. (2020) Farrokhzad / Golestan: Synergies between Cinema and Poetry/Farrokhzad / Golestan: Sinergias entre cine y poesía. Tecmerin. Revista de Ensayos Audiovisuales, 6(3). ISSN: 2659-4269

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