Famous Iranian film director Dariush Mehrjui (The cow, The Pear Tree) was killed along with his wife in a stabbing attack by an unknown assailant at their home in Iran, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.
The official IRNA news agency quoted Hossein Fazeli, a judiciary official, as saying that Mehrjhi and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadifar, were found dead in their home with knife wounds in their necks. Fazeli said the bodies were discovered by the director’s daughter, Mona Mehrjui, at the couple’s home in a suburb outside the Iranian capital Tehran.
Mehrjui, 83, was best known for his neorealist films of the early 1970s that helped spark a new wave of Iranian cinema. Since then he has been a favorite on the international festival scene The cowhis second feature, won the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Award at the 1971 Venice Film Festival. Other accolades included the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes in 2002 To stay alivethe Silver Hugo Prize at the Chicago Film Festival in 1998 The pear tree, and top honors at the 1993 San Sebastian Film Festival for Sara.
Like most Iranian directors, Mehrjui fought against state censorship throughout his career, but he was one of the most outspoken critics of the Islamic regime in Tehran. Last year he posted a video criticizing the government for suppressing his latest, now likely final, feature film, A minor.
Iran’s state media news agency IRNA said authorities were investigating the killings but did not speculate on a possible motive. Mehrjui’s wife had recently posted on social media about a knife threat.