pictory: French "Grand Reporter" Léon Zitrone Narrates Persepolis Celebrations (1971)


pictory: French "Grand Reporter" Léon Zitrone Narrates Persepolis Celebrations (1971)
by Darius Kadivar

Never Seen Before French 30 Min. B& W documentary on the Persepolis Celebrations of the Persian Empire on October 1971 narrated by French Journalist Léon Zitrone on ORTF.

NOTE: Léon Zitrone was a highly professional and respected but at times Eccentric journalist. I had the honor of meeting him in the early 1980's as a young enthusiast at a book gathering where he kindly dedicated a book on his career reporting from all four corners of the world in the pioneer years of TV and international transmissions. In this report he complains in length about his dissappointment with Iranian authorities and even Iranian TV crew in handling the event and not allowing the French Crew inside the Tents ( fabricated in France by Janssen) and lack of cooperation of Iranian authorities in facilitating their stay. A rather exagerated claim in hindsight given that Iranian TV which was equally qualified as the French and had perfectly understood the copyright and exclusivity laws and naturally wanted to keep the exclusivity of transmitting the images filmed by it's team before foreign correspondents. French channel ORTF had been heavily subject to censorship prior to the French May Revolution of 1968 and by 1971 it's reporters had been extremly liberated in expressing themselves and working conditions had become much more easy leaving more initiative to it's tv crews and journalists. But Zitrone's reputation as a professional perfectionist seemed to go hand in hand with his often eccentric working demands that probably rubbed off some Iranian authorities including security police which in a funny incident (not mentioned here but was in Zitrone's biography) arrested him when trying to force his way into the Tents only to be set free by an embarrassed Shahbanou Farah (whom Zitrone admired) which led to a lifelong friendship between Zitrone and the Iranian Empress subsequently.

Description In French:

Emission consacrée à la retransmission en direct de Persépolis, des fêtes du 2500ème anniversaire de la fondation du royaume des Perses le 14 octobre 1971. Les interviews de Bernard GENSOUS, ingénieur en chef de l'ORTF, responsable de la partie technique de la retransmission et de Léon ZITRONE qui assurait les commentaires, alternent avec de très larges extraits de la retransmission.Bernard GENSOUS parle des difficultés qu'il a fallu surmonter. Il a été fait appel à la transmission par satellite. Les préparatifs ont duré un an. Les reportages ont été retransmis en couleur et en mondovision. Il parle du matériel et des techniques utilisées. L'équipe de l'ORTF comportait une quarantaine de techniciens confirmés qui ont travaillé dans des conditions très délicates et ont collaboré avec la télévision iranienne. Pour Léon ZITRONE, ce fut "le reportage le plus difficile [qu'il ait] fait depuis 22 ans". Il évoque le désordre et la pagaille qui régnaient, la carence des services d'information iraniens, les difficultés créées par la police. Il rend hommage au travail de Bernard GENSOUS.

Recommended Readings:

We Are Awake: 2,500-year celebrations revisited  by Cyrus KADIVAR

He is Awake: Close Up on Cyrus Kar by Darius KADIVAR

Recommended Websites:

The Coronation of 1967 and Persepolis Celebrations of 1971 created by Portuguese Web Artists.

Cyrus the Great Memorial created by Artist Lewis Batros in Sydney's Bicentennial Park, Australia.


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