Earlier this month, we received the news that a dear friend of ours, Max Neschott, had died. This past week marked his funeral and burial.
Max had lived a pretty amazing life, shortened though it was, and not devoid of tragedy. Max was born into Iranian aristocracy, and among his family there were ambassadors and landowners, generals and politicians. Seeing pictures from his childhood this week, it was impossible not to be struck by images that seem completely at odds with our current view of Iran and most of the Middle East. It was a reminder that Tehran was once a cosmopolitan city, a favored vacation spot for Europeans and Americans.
With the deposition of the Shah in the late 1970s and the rise of the Islamic extremist revolutionaries (with the implicit consent of the US), Max and many of his family came to the United States. His son, whom he would never meet, would remain in Tehran. Other family members who stayed were killed.
In America, Max would do his best, under much more meager circumstances, to be true to his artistic self, following his love of music, dance and art. He directed cable access programs and worked with his brothers on independent films. Despite the fact that he was living more of a pauper’s life than could have been imagined at his childhood, Max was constantly happy. He offered constant advice, encouragement and love to us and to his many other friends.
One of the things that happens when you get focused on making a movie is that you go underground for a little while, trusting that your friends will be there to welcome you when you come out. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
When someone dies at a relatively young age, it’s hard not to wonder about the things that could have been. Max could have spent his whole life wondering what could have been. Instead, he celebrated his art and his life daily.
And while he may be an unfamiliar name to you, it’s important that Max and his spirit of love and encouragement be remembered. Would that we all have such joy for life and such hopes for success for those around us.
God bless you, Max.