05 February 2010

Holocaust: Iranian Jewish filmmaker, 'The Desperate'

An Iranian Jewish filmmaker has produced a Holocaust story, "The Desperate."

The recently released film focuses on a Jewish surgeon, a concentration camp inmate, forced to perform emergency surgery on a Nazi general's son.

Ben Hur Sepher is interviewed by Karmel Melamed, who writes the Iranian American Jews blog for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

The story and interview is quite interesting.

When we talk about cultural traditions in the Persian Jewish community, Sepher's career is unusual.

Careers in the arts or entertainment were frowned upon. This may be an outgrowth of the popularity of Persian Jewish musicians in Shiraz and other cities whose work took them late at night into non-Jewish homes to entertain at parties and where there would be non-kosher food.

Young people - in the old days - who professed interest in such occupations were advised to get a real job.

Sepher is one of the rare ones who succeeded both in Iran and in the US for writing, directing and producing films. He trained at the Swedish Film Institute and worked at the Stockholm State Theatre for Ingmar Bergman. Additionally, he was the personal filmmaker for the Shah of Iran in pre-Revolutionary times.

Part of the Iranian Jewish diaspora in Los Angeles, which arrived some 30 years ago, Sepher directs television programs and short films in Hollywood.

To read the story, see the interview and the film's trailer, click here.


  1. Where can I see the entire movie? Is it avaialble on DVD?

  2. Wish I could tell you. Check out Karmel's story and follow the links. The trailer has the distribution company data on it, so you might want to contact them.

    Hopefully, it may be shown at JGSLA 2010 this summer - I'll suggest it to the film festival committee at the conference.