top of page


Youssef Ishaghpour

Youssef Ishaghpour came to France from Iran in 1958 at age eighteen as a student of cinema. He pursued studies in film, directing, and editing at the École Louis-Lumière and at the IDHEC (Institute of Higher Cinematographic Studies). Then he obtained a doctorate in philosophy and sociology from the EPHE.
Since he had belonged to a religious minority in Iran, it was impossible for him to return to the land of his birth to pursue film making. He stayed in France -- touched by "the temptation of the West."
Jean Mitry introduced him to theories of cinema. Thanks to Lucien Goldmann, he discovered the works of the young Lukács and the critical writings of Marx. Adorno and Benjamin broadened his horizons.
His mind roamed as well as he crossed from East to West. He thought through essay-writing and his essays addressed a remarkable array of subjects spanning from philosophy to politics and literature. Foremost, however, were his writings devoted to reflections on the image, both in cinema and painting. He published monographs on Orson Welles, Visconti, Ozu, S. Ray, and Kiarostami along with essay collections devoted to cinema in general and to particular films and filmmakers. And he published an astonishing steam of essays on painters as diverse as Poussin, Courbet, Manet, Seurat, Duchamp, Hopper, Morandi, Rothko, Staël, Tàpies, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Fautrier, Twombly, and Kiefer.
At the same time, he never forgot Iran. He wrote on the Persian miniature, on Sadeq Hedayat (the great modernist author), and on plastic artist Chohreh Feyzdjou.  
And he pursued photography avidly. There are five albums of his photos.
After receiving his higher doctorate (docteur d'État), Youssef Ishaghpour became Professor of art history and cinema at the University Paris-Descartes.
He was appointed a “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.” The French Academy awarded him the Lequeux Prize in 1991. The CNC (Centre national du Cinéma) gave him the Henri Ginet Prize for art and cinema in 2001.
Youssef Ishaghpour died in Paris on October 15, 2021.

The Friends of Youssef Ishaghpour Association

Friends of Youssef Ishaghpour was created in November 2021 with the goal of promoting Youssef Ishaghpour’s work. It aims to present it in all its many dimensions -- from essays on cinema and painting to philosophical writings, photographs and musical performances. The Association is comprised of film specialists, art historians, philosophers, Germanists, directors, publishers and longtime readers of Youssef. They hope to present and pay tribute to specific aspects of his legacy. In addition, the Association will organize intellectual tributes and exhibitions in his memory.


This website provides copyright-free books by Youssef Ishaghpour, who expressed the wish to make his essays accessible to as many people as possible during his lifetime.

Feel free to write to the association's email for any question or request.

You can also support the Association with your donations.

Useful links
bottom of page