An Iranian Herzog
A Study of Dariush Mehrjui’s Screen Adaptation of Saul Bellow’s Herzog
Regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most eminent authors, Saul Bellow (1915 – 2005) has had a huge influence on other artists. His works address the disordering nature of modern civilization, and the ability of humans to find their way in this disorder and achieve greatness and/or awareness. His sixth novel, Herzog (1964), has been regarded as a classic by many critics. The novel centers on a middle-aged college professor who is entangled in a traumatic situation and undergoes a severe identity crisis. The Iranian film Hamoun (1989) is a free adaptation of this novel. Its director, Dariyush Mehrjoui (1940-) is a well-known Iranian filmmaker who has been regarded as a master of adaptation in Iran. In this film Mehrjoui tries to portray an Iranian intellectual in a situation similar to that of Herzog, rendering through this character the complex socio-political and cultural situation of post-revolutionary Iran. The present paper focuses on the ways Mehrjui manages to achieve this aim, with the objective of offering insight into the political and cultural atmosphere of the modernized and post-revolutionary Iran.
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