Googoosh is a legendary pop icon and actress from Iran who from the late 1960's through the 70's was as popular as Elvis or the Beatles. At the height of her popularity in 1979 came the Iranian revolution, which swept old Iran under the rug of a new fundamentalism. Googoosh was silenced and then eventually left and went to Canada. Googoosh:Iran's Daughter is a documentary about Googoosh's music, movies, her lasting impact on the people of Iran as well as an insight into Iran though the years of her stardom.
Directed and assembled by Farhad Zamani this documentary is - for the most part - both entertaining and informative. But it's also a bit of a disappointment. If you know nothing about Googoosh the film only in a roundabout way gives insight into who she was. The film is more designed for people who already know who she is.
The film is full of interviews with fans, historians and scholars [and her son] all of which talk alot. Some interview sections are way too long and after a while just become talking heads who repeat and reiterate what we have heard before.
The best part of the documentary is watching all the clips of Googoosh who always manages to wear a completely different costume, sing a unique song and exhude a very happy and positive persona that no doubt had an effect of the nation of Iran.
Then there is the style. Zamani does a good job using footage from Googoosh's TV appearances and movies as well as footage of the Shah of Iran and other such political figures in Iran over the period. The all too few singing footage he uses are great too [she has a great voice and sings in several languages] and he uses many scenes from her movies as a counterpoint to show us what was happening in her real life. It's a creative way to make a statement about a star.
But Zamani also utilizes an annoying editing style of repeating shots - in an experimental fashion - to make a point that has the ability to throw viewers right out of the film every time it is used. This stylistic choice almost ruins the documentary but then Googoosh appears to sing a song and all is well again.
At 158 minutes Googoosh: Iran's Daughter is long. It could have used a tigther edit, a better introduction to who she is, longer footage of her songs and an update about where she is now [living in Canada and making a comeback]. A great documentary about Googoosh remains to be made. If you like Googoosh or want to get to know a bit about her this DVD is the first place to start. Then go to a web site such as Googoosh.com and learn more.
The DVD is presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 aspect ratio [NTSC Region One]. It consists of both talking heads and found footage from old movies and TV appearances. The newly shot sections look good but the old footage - understandably - looks fairly poor. The DVD transfer seems a bit on the light side - perhaps that's the way it was shot.
Audio is Farsi and English stereo and sounds okay. The footage of Googoosh singing is from old TV shows so it doesn't have a full sound but in some ways it sounds as good if not better than when originally broadcast.
The best extra are three bonus songs; Sahneh, J'Entends Crier Je T'aime and Mi Son Chiesta Tante Volte Then there is a Photo gallery with 16 photos and a CD discography list. There are also two short films by the director: The 5th Disease and Sy?dney, both [mostly] shot in black and white and deal with some element of paranoia. They also showcase the director's unique visual style, which he doesn't use in the documentary. Last up are a three trailers: Leila, The Deserted Station and War Photographer.
Googoosh: Iran's Daughter is a fair introduction to Iran's exiled pop diva icon Googoosh. It could be better but it does provide enough info for those curious about her or longing to see and hear her again.