French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, responsible for revered children’s film Le Ballon Rouge, was sponsored by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Art to produce this poetic documentary, but died when the helicopter he was filming from crashed. In the eight years following his death, his widow completed the project, using Lamorisse’s production notes as a guide, and Le Vent des Amoureux was posthumously nominated for an Oscar. The film is predominantly composed of images shot from a helicopter, and the camerawork is intended to imitate the movement of the wind. Dust clouds and herds of sheep appear to dance in rhythm to frenetic drums. As the narration begins, we are regaled by stories from the four winds said to course through Iran – the warm wind, the crimson wind, the evil wind and the lovers’ wind. The camera takes us through the clouds, through buildings, over cities and hamlets alike, indiscriminately washing clouds of sand along the way.
There are no overtly political tones, although the winds are favourable towards the nomads as they “believe that the earth belongs to no-one”, which could be read as suggesting that Iran be liberated from dynastic rule. Incidentally, Lamorisse was asked to reshoot the film, placing more emphasis on the modernisation of the country. The film was never publicly shown in Iran. Quietly stunning and magnetically simple, Le Vent des Amoureux is an exceptional final creation from an underrated master of cinema, and one wonders what Lamorisse may have accomplished had he lived longer.