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A new documentary about Omar Khayyam

May 20, 2021

We have been alerted by Siamak Akhavan to a new feature length documentary film about Omar Khayyam which has recently been completed. The film is entitled Broken Grail: Khayyam Debates Caligula. It has been produced by some Iranian film makers who together make up the Noghteh Group. This group was formed in 2011 and they state that ‘Our primary mission is to make movies and launch creative ideas to promote knowledge, culture and anything which makes people’s life better and easier.’ See for more information.

In their trailer, the group describes their film about Khayyam as follows:

‘This movie depicts a millenium (sic) from Khayyam’s birth to this day, and it shows Khayyam’s life and the same time depicts a theatrical group in the year 2019 who are trying to stage a play about Khayyam, and the problems that they face somehow bewildered Khayyam at that time too. The confrontation of rationalism and fanaticism, free thinking and prejudice, and so on so forth. This movie tries to depict a valid and coherent picture of this Iranian polymath.’

We have not yet had a chance to view the film in full, so we cannot explain the link between Khayyam and Caligula which puzzles us somewhat, but presumably the narrative makes this clear. Most of the dialogue is in Farsi with English subtitles. It includes interviews with a number of experts in Persian literature and Khayyamic studies including Prof Mehdi Aminrezavi and Prof Leonard Lewisohn. It has taken seven years to produce the film, and the main researcher, writer and director is Armyn Naderi.

The film is well recommended by Prof Aminrezavi and Siamak Akhavan. It can be accessed via the following link . There is also a book (Farsi text only?) containing the script and background on making the film – see We look forward to seeing comments from our readers when they have looked at the film.

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