Last night I saw, “Fifi Howls From Happiness” the most moving, inspiring and beautiful film, a journey with one of the most brilliant Iranian contemporary masters, artist Bahman Mohassess, produced by Marjaneh Moghimi and brilliantly directed by Mitra Farahani.
I WOULD NOT MISS THIS FILM if you are interested in meeting a truly lucid master who’s work and sophisticated philosophical vision is way beyond geographic identity. Yet due to the loss of his country of origin Iran and the avant-garde cultural hub and haven it used to be in the 1970’s, he and some of the grand personalities of that time have been dislocated and dispersed across the glove. Living a life in exile with all its nuances from liberating from all cultural ties to paralyzing on the pragmatic and psychic cultural level has made it very difficult for some of these great icons to continue their great works in an entirely new atmosphere, reality and cultural context.
I met Bahman Mohasses in NYC in the mid 80’s in a very intimate party where I was asked to sing a song for him (that torturous request in the middle of a party…) how could I say anything but sing my little tune for the master while drenched in fear having experienced his uncensored sense of humor and being. Fortunately he liked my singing and told me I carried the masculine in the feminine overtones of my voice and vice versa which I will always remember and understand it more now than then. Artists understand the alchemy of texture and the musicians the alchemy of tone/overtones.
Bahman Mohasses will no doubt be remembered for years to come as one of the most important artists on the 20th century. His amazing sense of humor, sharp wittiness and courage to look into reality as flat, absurd and multi dimensional all at the same time, makes him a fascinating icon and a timeless persona, impossible not to love and feel deeply attached to.
Fifi Howls From Happiness is a super intimate poetic glance at Mohassess’s life guided and conducted by his selfless and yet firmly aware of his own importance in the history of art as a major creative voice and force of the 20th century is a must see.
It was also enormously wonderful and moving to see the Haerizadeh brothers, the great Iranian artists and activists now based in Dubai visiting the master, commissioning an art piece (Mohassess’s last which he never started/finished) and purchasing some of his remaining works (Mohassess destroyed many of his own masterpieces).
Please see the film and put the word out, you will definitely be very moved and deeply inspired by this experience.