Barely a teenager, Fereydoun Rahnema was sent by his wealthy parents to study in Paris after the city’s liberation from the Nazis in August 1944. He stayed there well into his twenties, concentrating at first on literature. He published a youthful collection of Persian verse in the late 1940s and then, in the new decade, a more mature work, Poetry for Iran, in French. Writing a thesis on cinematic realism, he graduated from the Sorbonne in 1957. With films such as Persepolis (1960) and Siavash at Persepolis (1967), Rahnema would become one of the three recognized forefathers of the Iranian New Wave, with Farokh Ghafari and Ebrahim Golestan—for whose documentary film studio he worked upon his return to Iran, alongside the New Wave’s mother, fellow poet/soon-to-be filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad.

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