Persia. A land of barren mountains and burning deserts. A harsh land in which the climate is sparing in it's bounties. An ancient land, which is the meeting point between east and west, between Russia and India, between Arabia and the Caspian Sea. Iranians call it "Iran"; their soft and musical language, "Persian". On the rim of the country's dead heart - the old enemy...sand...sand...sand - there flowered, under it's powder blue skies, a wonder in the story of mankind.
Beautiful women, in a land blessed to this day with beautiful women, inspired the miniatures painter's brushes. Women with silvery voices, and melting eyes, eyes like the eyes of the gazelle which leaps over the burnished gold of the mountainside. Over the centuries grew palaces and mosques, which still dazzle the eye. In Persian gardens scented with Jasmine, the Lotus flowers bloomed, and the nightingale serenaded lovers to their dreamlands. Persia is the inspiration of Omar Kayyam, and the thousand and one nights, In later centuries, conquerors trampled on it's heritage, but through golden ages, the spirit of Persia has always triumphed.
In this land of beauty was born, more then five centuries before Christ, the mightiest empire in the, then, history of the world. The first capitol was here in Pasaghan, In celebration 2.500 years of nationhood, the Persian people, led by their Shah, his imperial majesty Mohammed Reza, make homage at the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the first Shah of all. Cyrus, king of kings. Champion, long before Magna Carta, of human rights and liberties. Cyrus, the lord's annointed of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament. Cyrus, the founder of Persian culture. and the father of Iran, the land five times the size of Great Britain, which this Shah rules today.
In solemnly dedicating himself to the memory of his predecessor, the Shah was keeping a promise he had made ten years earlier. As he left the tomb to join his empress and his ten-year-old son, the crown prince, he was filled with a sense of occasion. It would fall to him, after a long twilight in his nation's history, to remind the world, and his own people, of Persian pride.
The Backing for (The Other Side of the Wind) was complex. In order to support the luxury of his own vision and methods of work, Welles had to draw his finances from a variety of sources. One source was German television; I remember meeting the German television representative in 1976, when I was working for The New York Times, and I recall their shocked annoyance that all the investment had gone and there was nothing to show for it. Another backer was Avenel, a Swiss group, and a third was an Iranian group that included the Shah's brother-in-law, Mehdi Mouscheri. Apparently Welles was now prepared to sup with the devil to obtain money; in a seeming reversal of his lifelong liberalism, he narrated a one-hour color documentary of groveling admiration for the Iranian leader, produced in cooperation with the Tehran Ministry of Culture and Art. One hopes he did not mean it.
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