War filmmaker Mollaqolipur honored

March 13, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Deceased Iranian filmmaker Rasul Mollaqolipur, whose films directly or indirectly centered on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, was commemorated during a ceremony on Friday in Tehran.

Organized by the Nasl-e Aftab Institute, a cultural and sport organization which is headed by former MP and wrestler Amir-Reza Khadem, the ceremony was held at the Eivan Shams Hall.
Actor and director Masud Keramati, filmmaker Nader Moqaddas, documentarian Saeid Abutaleb, actor Mohammadreza Forutan and a group of other cineastes attend the ceremony.
Tehran Deputy Mayor Hadi Ayazi and Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaii were also in attendance.
Host Shahram Shakiba said that Akbar Nabavi, a film critic and a close friend of Mollaqolipur, has played a key role in organizing the ceremony.
Afterwards, Masud Keramati, a leading actor of Mollaqolipur’s “Journey to Chazzabeh”, delivered a short speech.
“I am glad that I appeared in his film. This collaboration resulted in a friendship that lasted for years… that is very memorable and helpful for me,” Keramati said.
A short film about Mollaqolipur, which was directed by his son Ali, was screened at the ceremony.
“I held a deep affection for him, because he was searching for the truth in his films. I think his works should be studied for their human perspectives,” Mohsen Rezaii said.
In 2005, Mollaqolipur made a campaign film for Rezaii in the presidential election. However Rezaii withdrew from the competition just a few days before the election.
“I tried to be beside him to learn from him when he was working. I gained energy from him,” Moqaddas said.
Mollaqolipur’s wife, daughter and son received awards from Nabavi, Forutan and Ayazi at the end of the ceremony.
Mollaqolipur died of a heart attack at age 51 in March 6, 2007. Initial Persian news reports had prematurely announced that he had died in a car accident.
In the early years of his filmmaking career, Mollqolipur focused on stories about the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, so he was regarded as a Sacred Defense filmmaker.
But, he began to criticize the postwar situation in his films -- an attitude that was not officially welcomed.
Thus, he was considered the enfant terrible of Iranian cinema and did not always have good relations with the press due to their sensational coverage of his films.
In “Poisonous Mushroom”, Mollqolipur portrayed the gap between the Iranian new generation and the war veterans.
In 2001, while filming “The Paternal Farm”, Mollaqolipur issued a statement entitled “Farewell Cinema” in which he said that it would be his last film due to the official restrictions on filmmaking.
However, he returned in 2006 with “M for Mother”, in which he showed a member of staff in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an irresponsible father of a physically challenged boy whose mother was suffering from injuries caused by chemical weapons used during the Iran-Iraq war.
Iran submitted the film to the Oscar race in the Best Foreign Language Films category at the 80th Annual Academy Awards.
Mollaqolipur began his filmmaking career with “Neinava” in 1983 and three years later won the Best Film Crystal Simorgh of the 5th Fajr International Film Festival for his “Flying in the Night”.
His next films “Majnun”, “Lunar Eclipse”, and “The Refugee” were considered average, but in 1995 he directed the acclaimed “Journey to Chazzabeh”, which told the story of a film crew at the war front and featured fantastic special effects.
He followed that up with “Help Me” and “Hiva” and then “The Burnt Generation” (1999), which many believe is Mollaqolipur’s masterpiece.
Photo: Filmmaker Rasul Mollaqolipur’s son and daughter Ali and Kobra (R) receive awards from actor Mohammadreza Forutan (front L) and Tehran Deputy Mayor Hadi Ayazi (rear L) during a ceremony held at Tehran’s Eivan Shams Hall on March 11, 2011 to commemorate him. (Mehr/Yunes Kkani)