Protagonists are always unconventional: “Lottery” director 

February 5, 2018

TEHRAN – Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian, director of the sex trafficking drama “Lottery”, has said that protagonists in all film genres act unconventionally.

He made the remarks at a press conference on Sunday in response to comments from journalists that claimed the revengeful act of the film’s main character might be harmful to society.

“Anyway, this is a film and when the law is inefficient, illegal acts are perpetrated, and this may occur in any society,” Mahdavian said during the press conference that was organized after a screening of his movie at 36th Fajr Film Festival.

“This is an alarm at the inefficiency of laws… and we see such actions in the country,” he added.

Mahdavian also criticized journalists for adapting a view that he claimed could cause more restrictive censorship on cinema.

He said that his film was repeatedly censored by official organizations and said, “Let’s allow filmmakers to have their own views.”

The story of “Lottery” revolves around trafficking in Iranian women to Arab countries.   

Earlier in July 2017, the culture officials had refused to authorize the screenplay of the movie due to its sensitive subject and asked Mahdavian, as writer and director, to make modifications in his story.

“I really don’t remember what parts of the screenplay were cut… but the original version had more violent and fascistic ending, by which I suppose would have made the film would be more astounding,” he stated.

“However, we were forced to modify it frequently and the result was what you saw on the screen,” he noted. 

Producer Mahmud Razavi also said that he ruined pairs of his shoes on the way to get the green light from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for the film.

Razavi was the producer of campaign films for Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, Hassan Rouhani’s main rival over the past two presidential elections. Therefore, some journalists accused him of undermining the Rouhani government with such a sensitive subject.

Razavi denied any scheme to undermine the Rouhani administration and said that he would make the film even if Qalibaf had been elected president.

“I would have made the film within ten days even if Qalibaf were president,” he noted.

The organizers of the Fajr Film Festival have arranged additional screenings for “Lottery” by popular demand.

Razavi was also the producer of Mahdavian’s debut film “Standing in the Dust” and his second movie “The Midday Event”, both of which won the awards for best film at the Fajr festival in 2016 and 2017.

Photo: Director Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian (1st R) and producer Mahmud Razavi (2nd R) and their colleagues attend a press conference about their latest film “Lottery” during the 36th Fajr Film Festival at Tehran’s Mellat Cineplex on February 4, 2018. (ILNA/Mostafa Safari)

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