Image: Janus Films

Montclair Film’s Clairidge Cinema brings you CHESS OF THE WIND starting on Friday, November 5. The gothic drama, made by Iranian director Mohammad Reza Aslani’s in 1976 was banned during the years following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The film tells the story of how the survivors of a noble woman jockey for her inheritance after she dies.

“The whole mood of the film and the characters are almost in a dream state. There’s so much going on beneath the surface. And the look of the film is gorgeous,” says Margaret Bodde, a Montclair resident and Executive Director at Martin Scorsese’s non-profit The Film Foundation. Bodde facilitated this screening to celebrate the reopening of The Clairidge. See below for more information on the Clairidge’s reopening.

CHESS OF THE WIND was restored in 2020 by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Image Retrouvée laboratory (Paris) in collaboration with Mohammad Reza Aslani and Gita Aslani, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

In 2020 CHESS OF THE WIND screened at Cannes, BFI Film Festival in London and the New York Film Festival to critical acclaim.

“The rediscovery of this film is helping to expand the canon of films from that era” says, Bodde. “Think major filmmakers like [Luchino] Visconti and [Pier Paolo] Pasolini. The film even has echoes of David Lynch.

After it was banned, the movie was thought to be lost forever. In 2014 CHESS OF THE WIND was miraculously found in Tehran. Later it was smuggled to Paris and restored in 2020.

“Audiences are really embracing this film, it’s so modern and it’s, like all great classic films from the past. It still is so resonant to audiences today,” says Bodde.

The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 900 films, which are made accessible to the public through programming at festivals, museums, and educational institutions around the world. The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has restored 46 films from 27 different countries representing the rich diversity of world cinema. The foundation’s free educational curriculum, The Story of Movies, teaches young people–over 10 million to date–about film language and history.

***Clairidge screening a preview of THE FRENCH DISPATCH on Thursday, Nov. 4

If you didn’t get a chance to see THE FRENCH DISPATCH at the Montclair Film Festival, you can catch a public preview at the Clairidge on Thursday, November 4. The theater will fully reopen on Friday, November 5. It will then be open seven days a week with multiple shows per day. The opening slate of films include: LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, THE FRENCH DISPATCH, SPENCER, THE SOUVENIR PART II, CHESS OF THE WIND (1976).