By The Free Iranian Staff
The Last Fiction, an original animation, a first of its kind produced by Tehran-based Hoorakhsh Studios, and directed by Ashkan Rahgozar, debuted in Hollywood’s Arena Cinelounge, on October 18th and will continue to be screened thru the 24th. The one hour and 40-minute animated feature, is based on the beloved 10th century Iranian poet, Abul-Qassem Ferdowsi’s mythology, entitled of Kings or Shahnameh; it is a heartfelt epic where divine and celestial might battle wizardly immorality and is the essence of the classical Iranian identity and lore.
So far, the film has received several international awards such as the Annecy Festival in France and was able to climb to the 32 preliminary animation features for the 2019 Oscars. This theatrical run will make the feature eligible for the final round of the 2020 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) awards in the animation feature category.
Despite the production team’s achievement however, Hossein Shariatmadari, the bombastic and controversial editor of Kayhan Tehran, a media mouthpiece for the supreme leader, complained: “Why are the female characters in this animation without ‘hijab’ and why are the relationships between them and men shown so freely?!”
Ashkan Rahgozar who skillfully blends narrative and medium, has said that the animation industry in Iran is under serious mismanagement and budgets are improperly spent.
Even though the epic takes place prior to the advent of Islam in ancient Iran, the Khomeinist regime continues to impose its version of social dogma on all things Iranian. In a regime that separates men and women’s offices and work areas, hands down directives for male managers not to hire female assistants and vice versa worth criticizing, and a governmental body issues statements threatening women with judicial backlash, for improper hijab, it is no wonder that female characters without headscarves are deemed to be against Islamic ethics and propriety.