The bodies of a famous Iranian filmmaker and his screenwriter wife were discovered with their throats slit by their daughter who had returned to the family home near Tehran.
Dariush Mehrjui, 83, and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadifar, 54, were found dead Saturday night by their daughter, Mona Mehrjui, the eldest of their three children.
The couple were killed in their home in Karaj, Alborz Province, a 40-minute drive from Tehran.
The circumstances surrounding their death are unknown. The couple were not seen as politically controversial.
Police said there were no signs of forced entry and no damage caused to the doors of their home.
Dariush Mehrjui, 83, and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadifar, 54, were found dead in their family home Saturday night
The couple were discovered with their throats slit by their daughter, Mona Mehrjui (left)
Police say there are no signs of forced entry and motives are unknown, although Mohammadifar made claims about a threat on social media and a break-in weeks earlier
‘During the preliminary investigation, we found that Dariush Mehrjui and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadifar, were killed by multiple stab wounds to the neck,’ said Hossein Fazeli-Harikandi, chief justice of Alborz province.
Weeks before her death, Mohammadifar complained about a threat made on social media and alleged that their home had been burgled – but she does not appear to have shared these concerns with authorities.
‘The investigation revealed that no complaints had been filed regarding the illegal entry into the Mehrjui’s family villa and the theft of their belongings,’ Fazeli-Harikandi said.
Mehrjui figured prominently in the Iranian New Wave cinema movement of the seventies and was considered a pioneer in the genre.
New Wave films from this era were characterized by a realistic style and the use of poetic storytelling techniques. They frequently focused on the rural lower class.
Mehrjui himself hailed from a middle-class background in Tehran, where he developed interests in miniature painting, music, and playing the piano and santoor, a traditional Iranian instrument.
In the months leading up to the 1979 Iranian revolution, Mehrjui filmed the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini while he was in exile in France.
Later films centered around middle- and upper-class characters in Tehran as they discussed money, art and religion.
In Hamoun, a middle-aged intellectual experiences a mental breakdown as his marriage unravels.
One of Mehrjui’s best-known films is The Cow, released in 1969. It centers around a farmer’s love for his cow and anguish after its death.
The film was produced using funds from the shah of Iran – but it was swiftly banned due to its honest portrayal of rural life.
Mehrjui (right) was an acclaimed filmmaker whose work figured prominently in the Iranian New Wave cinematic movement
His 1969 film The Cow is one of his most famous, and depicts the life of a poor farmer and his love for his cow
The film centers around the farmer’s anguish following his beloved animal’s death
Like many New Wave films of the seventies, The Cow focused on the life of the lower class
Although the film was produced using funds from the the shah of Iran, it was quickly banned for its frank portrayal of rural life
Mehrjui earned international acclaim for his work, winning a Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1998 and a Golden Seashell at the San Sebastián International Film Festival 1993.
Vahideh Mohammadifar was a novelist and costume designer who left her own mark on the entertainment industry.
She worked closely with her husband, who directed the films that she wrote.
Mohammadifar began her screenwriting career with Tales of an Island in 2000, followed by To Stay Alive in 2002 and Mom’s Guest in 2004.
As her work gained recognition, she was credited for other projects including The Music Man, Beloved Sky, Orange Suit, Good To Be Back, Ghosts and A Minor.
The couple’s death comes at time when Iran is accused of having some involvement in the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7.
Violence has exploded across the region, killing at least 1,400 in Israel and nearly twice that amount in Palestine as of Sunday.
Iran denied involvement, but the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the ambush in a televised address Tuesday.
‘We kiss the hands of those who planned the attack on the Zionist regime,’ he said. ‘The Zionist regime’s own actions are to blame for this disaster.’
It is currently unclear whether Iran plans to involve itself in the war.