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CMES Cinema: The Fabulous Life + Thought of Ahmad Fardid

  • Luce Hall 34 Hillhouse Avenue New Haven, CT, 06511 United States (map)
This documentary explores the life and thought of Iranian philosopher Ahmad Fardid in his intellectual crusade to halt rising western influence in Iran. The self-proclaimed philosophical spokesperson for the Islamic Republic, Fardid constructed a “mystical” and “spiritual” political philosophy that undertook to deliver Iran from the culturally “debasing” and spiritually “dehumanizing” experience of Iranian modernity. Under the conspicuous influence of German philosopher Martin Heidegger, Fardid called for the recovery of modern Iran to its Islamic roots, a project fueled by his concept of Ghabzadegi (“Westoxification”)—which would quickly become a buzzword in the Iranian critique of the modern, secular West. The film features extensive interviews with Fardid’s former colleagues, associates, students, as well as scholars of modern Iran, and uses rare and previously inaccessible footage of Fardid’s debates featured on Iranian television. More broadly, the film presents a comprehensive intellectual history of modern Iran, from the post-Constitutional (1906) to the post-Islamic Revolutionary periods, through a figure whose obscure philosophical path remains largely absent from prevailing conceptions of the rise of political Islam.

Directed by Ali Mirsepassi and Hamed Yousefi (Iran, 2013)