Tehran: One of Iran's most important film-makers, Dariush Mehrjui, was stabbed to death on Saturday evening alongside his wife at their home near Tehran, the judiciary said on Sunday.
The 83-year-old was indelibly associated with the Iranian new wave of cinema, having made "The Cow" in 1969, one of the movement's first films.
"During the preliminary investigation, we found that Dariush Mehrjui and his wife, Vahideh Mohammadifar, were killed by multiple stab wound to the neck," said Hossein Fazeli-Harikandi, chief justice of Alborz province, near Tehran, according to Mizan online news agency.
In an interview published on Sunday by the newspaper Etemad, the film-maker's wife said that she had been threatened and their home had been burgled.
"The investigation revealed that no complaints had been filed regarding the illegal entry into the Mehrjui's family villa and the theft of their belongings", said Fazeli-Harikandi.
Dariush Mehrjui's most notable films, alongside "The Cow", included "Mr Gullible" (1970), "The Cycle" (1977), "The Tenants" (1987), "Hamoun" (1990), "Sara" (1993), "Pari" (1995) and "Leila" (1997).
The films were all screened at the Forum des Images in Paris, during a tribute attended by Mehrjui.
Between 1980 and 1985, the film-maker lived in France where he worked on the documentary "Journey to the Land of Rimbaud" (1983).
On returning to Iran, he triumphed at the box office with "The Tenants".
In 1990, he directed "Hamoun", a dark comedy showing 24 hours in the life of an intellectual tormented by his divorce and his intellectual anxieties in an Iran overwhelmed by the technology companies Sony and Toshiba.
Throughout the 1990s, Mehrjui also depicted the lives of women in "Sara", "Pari" and "Leila", a melodrama about an infertile woman who encourages her husband to marry a second woman.