by Taghi Amirani
Country: UK, Iran
Year: 2019
Duration: 120'

Iran, August 1953: Operation Ajax, a coup orchestrated by British and American intelligence services, marked the end of a democratically elected government, reinstated the Shah and most crucially ended Mohammad Mossadegh’s most significant policy: the nationalization of Iranian oil. Through private and public life, the film describes the departure of Amirani's family from Iran to England and then follows Amirani as he uncovers the evidence of the plot hatched by British and US intelligence, led by the CIA's Kermit Roosevelt Jr.


film director

Taghi Amirani

(Iran, 1960) moved to England in 1975. He studied physics at Nottingham University where in 1984 he made Shades of Black, a documentary about black holes. On graduating in 1986 he made Mechanics of Love, a low-budget romatic comedy. In 1989 he produced and directed Earth Calling Basingstoke, his first TV documentary made, about British amateur astronomers. The he has centered his focus on politics and Western foreign policy in the Middle East: in 2001 he made the documentary The Dispossessed, shot in a Taliban-controlled refugee camp, and in 2004 he made his first film back home in Iran, Red Lines and Deadlines, made for the PBS series Wide Angle. He has been a jury member at the International Emmys, Royal Television Society, One World Media Awards and Sheffield International Documentary Festival, where he's also a member of the Advisory Committee. Coup 53 is his debut feature documentary.


Shades of Black (doc, cm, 1984), Mechanics of Love (cm, 1986), Earth Calling Basingstoke (ep. serie tv Equinox, 1989), Vegetable Plots (ep. serie tv True Story, 1992), Roots (ep. serie tv He Play, 1992), Knights of the Shining Piddock (ep. serie tv, Q.E.D., 1993), The Dispossessed (ep. serie tv, Correspondent, 2002), Just Say No (ep. serie tv, War on Iraq, 2002), Dining with Dictators (ep. serie tv, This Time Next Year, 2004), Red Lines and Deadlines (ep. serie tv Wide Angle, doc, 2004-2005), Ove Arup: The Philosopher Engineer (doc, 2005), Coup 53 (doc, 2019).


film director

“The investigative thriller style wasn’t part of the initial plan, and the reason the took so long and the structure evolved was that nobody wanted to fund this film. We kept shutting down because we couldn’t raise the money. No studio, no funding institution or grants came to us, so I had to raise the money dollar by dollar from donations, mostly from lovely people in the Bay Area, which meant we had time. Every time we ran out, we had time to research and read through the archive and make new connections, so my onscreen role came out of putting the research out front because it became a real find. And I didn’t think it would take 10 years. It was never part of my plan that it would take 10 years, that it would become such a monumental colossus of a project involving seven countries, involving a huge cast of interviews and characters and archive material.”


& Credits

DIRECTOR: Taghi Amirani. SCREENPLAY: Taghi Amirani, Walter Murch. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Taghi Amirani, Simon Fanthorpe, Chris Morphet, Claudia Raschke, Vicente Franco, Ben Richards. FILM EDITING: Walter Murch. MUSIC: Robert Miller. CAST: Ralph Fiennes. PRODUCERS: Taghi Amirani, Paul Zaentz. PRODUCTION: Amirani Media

CONTACTS: Taghi Amirani taghi@amiranimedia.com