Iran a filmmakers’ heaven: Kiarostami

October 20, 2007 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Iran’s movie icon Abbas Kiarostami believes that although it is hard to live as a citizen in Iran, it is heaven for a filmmaker.

“In Iran, we have thousands of themes which can provide food for thought for filmmakers and photographers. Thus, despite all the restrictions that exist in Iran we still have plenty of scope to pursue our careers,” Kiarostami noted.
“A dearth of facilities is actually one of Iranian filmmakers’ lucky chances. Even disasters such as floods and earthquakes provide us with opportunities,” he added.
On Wednesday evening critics and an audience attended a review session held for his doc “ABC Africa” at Tehran’s Felestin Cinema, which played host to the Cinéma Vérité Festival, an Iranian event highlighting documentary films.
Documentary film “ABC Africa” (2001), which was made at the request of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development by Kiarostami and his assistant, Seifollah Samadian, features a thousand Ugandan children, all orphans, whose parents have died of AIDS.
“I am not a documentarian, but I’m reliant on this genre,” he said.
“My cinema has a close relationship with documentary filmmaking, because real people are present in my films,” he added.
He referred to filmmakers who conduct research before the shooting of their films, but commented that he does not believe in using such a method for his own films.
“For ‘ABC Africa’, I took my camera and went among the people to shoot it. However, this kind of filmmaking also has both defects and perfections,” he explained.
“This film and ‘Close Up’ deeply affected me. Because, through these films, I realized that we can free ourselves from the usual complex processes of filmmaking. In ‘ABC Africa’, we didn’t remake anything before the camera, but we featured a real report.”
“We should set down the artificial mise en scène and make ourselves loyal to the atmosphere in which we live.”
Kiarostami is currently preparing to shoot the drama “Certified Copy”, which is to star Juliette Binoche. Shooting is scheduled to begin in Italy in the spring.
A report published in an Iranian cinematic monthly announced that Robert De Niro would be co-starring in the film with Binoche.
However, Kiarostami said that he has found Binoche’s co-star, who is a veteran French actor, in a film he watched last week