Asghar Farhadi prefers to make films in Iran 

May 31, 2016

TEHRAN -- “The Salesman” director Asghar Farhadi, the winner of the best screenplay prize at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, says he prefers to work in his country Iran, the reason why he has refused to accept many American film projects so far.

“I love Iran and I think Iran is a better place for me to live. Where else can I enjoy the presence of my father and mother and friends? That is why I have rejected directing many great American projects so far, preferring to work in Iran,” Farhadi said in a press conference held on Monday night at the Khaneh Hamayesh, a convention center in northern Tehran.

“It is better for me to make most of my films in Iran, but I also like to experience making films in other countries for myself just to satisfy my curiosity,” he told the reports.

Farhadi, who was accompanied with the film’s stars Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidusti, continued that some believe the bad image of Iran portrayed in some Iranian films is the reason for their success at international events.

“I have taken part in different international festivals as a jury member and have noticed that the organizers do not give an award to a film based on a specific policy. I do not feel that the Iranian films that present a bad image of Iran receive awards at international festivals; and based on my personal experience in different festivals as a jury member, I have not seen such an attitude towards Iranian films,” he explained.

“When I go out of Iran I feel quite confident since I know where I am coming from. Which country in the world can you find that has produced as many good films as ours? I take pride to say I live in a country where good films such as ‘The Cow’ (Dariush Mehrjui) were made fifty years ago,” he asserted.

Mohammad Atbai, an international expert on Iran’s cinema who was also the host of the conference, completed words by Farhadi and said, “The year 2015 was a great year for the cinema of Iran. Iran had 2250 participations in international events compared with the previous year, which had 1500. Iran’s cinema gained 370 international awards last year compared with the previous year, which only had 235.

“I believe it is the value of Iranian films that leads to receiving awards. We need to trust our cinema and also increase our confidence based on the high position of our cinema in the world. There is no international festival at which the jury members surrender themselves to political considerations, and I tell you this in confidence,” he remarked.

Hosseini and Alidusti also gave their opinions on different issues related to the film at the conference. The “Salesman” brought Hosseini the Palme d’Or for best actor.

The film is about Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Alidusti) who move into a new flat in the center of Tehran. An incident linked to the previous tenant dramatically changes the young couple’s life.

Farhadi promised a private screening for journalists one week ahead of the film’s public screenings in summer.

Photo: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (C) and actors Shahab Hosseini (R) and Taraneh Alidusti attend a press conference in Tehran on May 30, 2016, to brief journalists about the success of “The Salesman” at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. (Mehr/Hossein Esmaeili) 

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