Mehran Karimi Nasseri, Who Inspired ‘The Terminal,’ Dies in Paris Airport
Mehran Karimi Nasseri — nicknamed “Mahboubeh” for “mahboobed” — died on Thursday in Paris’s Hôtel de Crillon, a friend said. He was 81.
Karimi Nasseri was a Lebanese filmmaker who, after a career as a news announcer, went to study journalism at Paris’s Sciences Po.
He joined the leftist Free French Forces shortly after the war, serving in a unit in France’s Rhine-Neck region. He was later part of the Resistance.
Karimi Nasseri, born Robert Nasseri, was also a filmmaker, most notably the director of several short films, including “The Terminal.”
He earned a reputation as a maverick filmmaker by tackling a wide range of subjects, often from a leftist, anti-authoritarian perspective. He also contributed to the political and aesthetic experimentation and the genre of the political thriller.
Karimi Nasseri left the Resistance in 1947 with the others who were in charge of filming the liberation of Oran, on the coast of Algeria, by the French and Algerian troops. He filmed the liberation of Oran — on “cable”, as it came to be called by the French — a year before the United States began filming the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany.
In January of 1968, Karimi Nasseri was an adviser to the French army in the Algerian and French wars as well. He returned to his native Lebanon and joined the civil war in 1958. He joined the Free French Forces in September of 1958. He received the Legion of Honor in 1988, the highest recognition an officer can receive in the French military.
The Terminal — a film that deals with the Algerian War — was his first feature film, and it gained its name from the fact that the hero, a man named Nasser, is on the run from the French authorities.
In his film, Nasseri juxtaposes a modern, clean-cut young man, his girlfriend and his mother with a violent, older man who represents the anti-military tradition. It is a film of the war between those who belong to this modern world and those who belong to the old world.
At the time, Karimi