In 1997 or whenever it was, I was working at my first job, a translator,  in an export-import company affiliated to the state-owned  Iranian Railways. I had landed this job because my boss, the Director of Business  Affairs, was the son-in-law of my mom’s old friend from teaching college. He interviewed and hired me because he liked my accent and told me in my job interview that part of my duties would consist of talking to him in English for an hour every day.

The boss of my boss, the boss of the whole company, was a “Sepahi”: fanatically religious, injured in the Iran-Iraq war, proud of his wife’s career as a school principal who wore the black “chador“.  “We are the guardians of the Revolution”, he explained to me, I can’t remember on what occasion.

Anyway, one day, the Sepahi boss walked in the company, all excited and screaming. He gathered all his staff around -including my boss and English student- and screamed “I saw the Titanic! I saw the Titanic! I have to talk to you about it!” or words to that effect.

So we all gathered in his office- about seven or eight of us, I think, and there he was, sitting in front of us gabbling with hysteria and excitement “So the whole story begins, when blah blah blah, the divers, blah blah, find a box, blah blah blah and in the box there was a sketch of a naked woman! NAKED! Absolutely naked! Can you imagine! Lokht! lokht! lokht-e lokht! Not a a stitch on her! No clothes! Yes! She was naked!” By this time, he was frothing at the mouth with hysteria and arousal, and he couldn’t continue talking. The meeting was over.

So, I felt I had to contribute to the avalanche of  people recounting their memories of seeing Titanic the first time round. I actually can’t remember when and where I saw the movie, but yes, I can remember vividly, like yesterday, sitting a pointless government office in west of Tehran, dressed in a loose blue manteau and my head covered in a black maghna-eh (hair-sock), my sepahi boss, flailing his arms and spitting with excitement, screaming “lokht! (Naked!) A sketch of a lokht woman! Under the sea! In a box! lokht-e lokht!”



  1. I have a similar memory; our religious studies (dini) teacher had seen the film and he came to the back of the class with the “cool” kids and started talking about how in the first scene Kate Winslet was coming down (or going up) the ship’s stairs and he and his relatives were all drooling with their eyes glued to the screen. “With our wives were watching too!” But they just couldn’t help it.
    It’s kinda strange, didn’t these guys see any Hollywood movie before titanic?

  2. thenewcomer

    I guess Titanic was the first -or one of the first Hollywood films which became really widespread and popular and “amme-pasand” outside of North America and which also included “sex” scenes. You know, I really can’t think of one which had such a widespread recognition (at least in Iran) before that- except perhaps action movies, rambo etc.

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