By Kathryn Armstrong
One of Iran’s most prominent film directors, Dariush Mehrjui, has been found dead alongside his wife.
The 83-year-old and Vahideh Mohammadifar were found with stab injuries in their home near the capital, Tehran, on Saturday evening, Iranian authorities say.
Mehrjui was considered one of the founders of Iranian new wave cinema.
Four people have been identified in connection to the deaths, according to local media reports.
According to chief justice Hossein Fazeli, Mehrjui had invited his daughter to come over to his home in the city of Karaj for dinner on Saturday night.
When she arrived, she is said to have found the bodies of her parents.
Mohammadifar, a screenwriter and costume designer, had reportedly complained recently that she had been threatened and that the house had been burgled.
Iranian actor and director Houman Seyedi was among those who took to social media to react to the killings – describing them as “terrible and brutal”.
Mehrjui, who studied in the US as a young man and later lived in France for five years, first rose to national and international prominence with his 1969 film The Cow, which tells the story about a villager’s obsession with the titular animal.
His other most notable films include Hamoun, The Pear Tree and Leila – the latter about an infertile woman who encourages her husband to marry for a second time.
The new wave movement focused mainly on realism but Mehrjui was known to draw inspiration from literature.
He received many awards over the years but while his films were celebrated at international film festivals, some barely saw the light of day in Iran due to censorship.