Ali Hatami’s humourous fictionalized account of the first-ever Iranian ambassador to the United States, Haji Hossein-Gholi Khan Noori aka Haji Washington, who was appointed in 1889 by Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar. Ostensibly, among other achievements, he sparked interest in Iran among American orientalogists. Despite his enthusiasm for the task he is constantly thwarted by lack of funding from the regime, the problems of establishing connections, and some general confusion between the Iranian and the Ottoman embassy!
But problems really arise when he gives political asylum to a Native American. The film delightfully re-creates the ambience of the times and Ezzatolah Entezami creates as wonderful a “Haji” as cult American actor, Richard Harrison, does a president. The Washington sections of the film were shot in Italy. The film, although made in 1982, was not screened in Iran until 1998, after the Reformists came to power.
Director: Ali Hatami
Writer: Ali Hatami
Cast: Ezzatolah Entezami, Richard Harrison, Ransel Cass
Screening time: 100 minutes
Language: Farsi with English subtitles