The king is dead, the people in shock. Who killed him? His body was found in a run-down mill, and its resident family now sits in the hot seat. After a sand storm the man at the mill sought shelter but did not identify as the king, the miller said. He didn’t flee foreign assailants, rather his own people; he didn’t want to rule anymore, said his wife. He begged me to kill him, his daughter said. Or is it quite the contrary and under the mask hides not the king, but the dead miller? The family is risking their necks with careless talk, for in their desperate recollection, searching for the truth their lives are at risk. As the interrogation at the mill runs its course, more and more information comes to light only to then be amended; an overthrow is brewing out there, the enemies are approaching.
Yazdegerd III was the last king of the Sasanian Empire. His death in 651 AD marked both the transition to the Arabic conquest of the Persian Empire and the end of a long epoch in Iranian history. Mina Salehpour directs this 1979 piece by the 1938-born Iranian author Bahram Beyzaie about the king’s fate, class differences, and strong, vocal female characters – in a multi-language version with German and English surtitles.