French scholar Jean-Claude Carrière honored in Tehran

November 8, 2019

TEHRAN – The French film expert and Rumi scholar Jean-Claude Carrière was honored for his lifetime cultural achievements by the Persian literary monthly Bokhara on Thursday at the Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia in Tehran.

The ceremony was attended by French Ambassador Philippe Thiébaud, Carrière’s Iranian wife Nahal Tajaddod who is also a Rumi expert, vocalist Shahram Nazeri and a number of celebrities and cultural figures.

Speaking at the ceremony, Tajaddod said that living with Carrière taught her not to be afraid of hard work, adding that his personal and professional life are not separated.

“Jean-Claude knows Persian poets and Persian culture, and his conversations with my mother resulted in translations of nine volumes of books written by Persian literature scholar Badiozzaman Foruzanfar,” she said.

“He later made use of his personal knowledge in the translation of Rumi’s Masnavi-ye Manavi, and then in the translation of 100 lyrics selected from the Divan of Shams-i Tabrizi, which has been published by a French publisher,” she added.

“We next released the poetry of Rumi in both Persian and French with both the voices of Jean-Claude and my mother, which was warmly received by readers,” she noted.

Jean-Claude for his part made a short speech, calling speaking in front of the interested participants a very hard task.

“I made my best efforts. What I really wanted to emphasize was that when you want to pay attention to a culture you need to love its people, and my wife played a great role in this,” he said.

“I would also like to mention that I traveled to Iran several times, and everywhere I went I was warmly received,” he said.

Jean-Claude, who is also a screenwriter, said that he was one of the first experts who wrote about filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami in French film journals.

“There are not many like Kiarostami. He looked cold but when you got to know him you would face a big heart.  That is, Jean-Luc Godard and I, who were pioneers of the new wave cinema in France, suddenly noticed a person who came from the East and had opened a new window to cinema,” he explained.

He also mentioned that he has written a screenplay for a film on Rumi, which has also been translated into Persian.

Addressing the participants, Carrière concluded, “I cannot say more about Iran and its art more than you since you are here yourself. I love Iran and Iranian art and food, and I will come to Iran again.”

The ceremony was concluded with Shahram Nazeri singing a part of Rumi’s Masnavi-ye Manavi.

Carrière is the author of “Love: The Joy That Wounds: The Love Poems of Rumi”.

He has also worked as the principal of a French film school and has written books on films and screenwriting.

Photo: Jean-Claude Carrière attends a ceremony organized by the Persian literary monthly Bokhara at the Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia in Tehran on November 7, 2019 to honor the French scholar for his cultural achievements. (IRNA/Saeidreza Razavi)

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