Born of Fire

Born of Fire


Peter Firth, Suzan Crowley

with Oh-Tee, Stefan Kalipha
and Nabil Shaban as "The Silent One"

produced, written and directed by Jamil Dehlavi
Film on Four, Channel Four Television 1989

The Cast of "Born of Fire"

back row - left to right; Suzan Crowley, Peter Firth, Stefan Kalipha
front row - left to right; Nabil Shaban, Oh-Tee

The original working title of "Born of Fire" was "The Master Musician".

Iblis, the Master Musician, has put the English flute-player into a coma.
His friends wait, hoping the sacred flute will revive him.

The Silent One waits but is thinking of how he can help save the world
from being destroyed by Iblis or Shaytan, the Master Musician.

Movie Review by a friend in Michigan -

"I enjoyed "Born of Fire" a lot. Stunning visuals, thought-provoking, teasing story, genuinely scary at times. I think it makes sense on two levels: the horror/supernatural level and a sort of mystic/allegorical one. Actually, I think the mystical level almost works better.... Obviously, the fire represents the destructive power of sexuality, which is also beautiful and, in a way, alluring. I see the main characters as having dual natures (except for Iblis, who's pure evil). The man is on a quest, isn't he? The music which draws him can be seen as a divine power which Iblis has subverted. Paul sublimates his sexuality in music, and music eventually overcomes Iblis... but in the end the man seems compelled to follow the woman's black robe floating down the river (which had been identified earlier as "the graveyard of the djinns") and when he reaches for it, the hand comes up and grabs him -- so he succumbs to his sexual nature in the end, and he's trapped by it. The woman is also dual, she's both djinn and mother -- both sexual identities. Her sexuality is positive as a mother-reincarnation -- when she bonds with your character -- but taken away from her mother-role, her sexuality is destructive of the man and of herself. The Silent One isn't shown in a sexual light.... In a way he's both child and, in his opposition to Iblis, a sort of angel figure -- a catalyst to the other characters -- he brings out the motherly, caring side of the women, and tries to stop her from going to Iblis -- he steals the flute from Iblis -- and in the climax he STARTS the chant that first shakes Iblis and then, when the flute joins in, defeats him...."
Copyright Cathy Lester 2003

My reply to Cathy -
"...I enjoyed your analysis and critique of "Born of Fire". I sent a copy of that section of your email to Jamil, the director….with the words "Ah now at last we know what the film's about!" Ever since the film was made, it has been a running joke with Jamil and I that as producer, director, writer, he hasn't a clue as to what it's about, never mind the rest of the world. Once he heard me giving an interview to a journalist, explaining the film's meaning and he laughed because he reckoned I was the only person in the world who knew what was going on in his convoluted imagination. Needless to say, he was pleased to learn there are now two people in the world……I've seen most of Jamil's movies. They are more religious political than sexual. They are more visual than literate. He prefers pictures to words. Which therefore heightens any sexual or romantic content. He lets the images tell the story rather than the characters, consequently his films seem much more impressionistic, surreal, abstract, symbolic or very graphic. He has used me in two of his films ("Jinnah" starring Christopher Lee) and nearly in two others ("Immaculate Conception" and "Beneath the Hollow of the Deep Sea Wave"). We seem to enjoy working together, and I get a great creative kick collaborating with him with the development and writing. So "The Silent One" (which incidently was the name I gave the character. Jamil had originally just called him "The Dwarf" but he was persuaded that "The Silent One" was a much more fitting and positive connotative title), was as much my creation as Jamil's. The last scene of me wailing and beating my chest, helping the flautist defeat Iblis was my idea..."

the Silent One and friend (but who is really the "silent one"?)

Visit the Silent One's photo gallery.
Photos by Nabil Shaban, whilest on location in Turkey, filming for "Born of Fire"

Dehlavi Films - website of Jamil Dehlavi, producer, director of "Born of Fire"

Born of Fire as listed in Internet Movie Data base (IMDb)

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