By Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet

Mahmudi brothers gain Iran recognition for Afghan migrant filmmakers 

January 17, 2020 - 18:42

The Fajr Film Festival has announced that it will screen “To Die in the Pure Water”, a drama by Tehran-based Afghan brothers Navid and Jamshid Mahmudi, in the official competition of its 38th edition.

This is the second time they have managed to gain entry to the festival, which is dedicated to movies from Iranian filmmakers. The compelling story in their debut feature “A Few Cubic Meters of Love” had previously secured them a prominent place in Iranian cinema and at the event in 2014.

In their movies including their fifth feature “To Die in the Pure Water”, the Mahmudi brothers have related stories about their fellow Afghan immigrants who have fled violence and war in their country.

“Over the past 40 years, I’ve been looking at whatever happened to me from the viewpoint of an immigrant,” said Navid in an interview published by the organizers of the festival.

“If I fell in love, I fell in love as an immigrant, if I became a filmmaker, I made a film as an immigrant,” he added.

In their latest movie “To Die in the Pure Water”, the leading character is faced with the dilemma of choosing between converting to Christianity to obtain a European visa or continuing to live as a Muslim with all his problems.    

The Afghan brothers have chosen a right place to become a voice of their fellow Afghan immigrants that are facing many problems across the world. Iran houses about 3 million Afghan refugees, who have been warmly received, at least, by the cultural community in the country.

Giving entry to the Mahmudi brothers’ films at the Fajr Film Festival and other events, including the Iran Cinema Celebration, are the examples of the warm reception afforded the immigrants.

By means of their well-made films, the Afghan brothers have gained recognition in the Iranian cultural community’s event for other Afghan filmmakers working in the country.

Sahra Karimi, the sole Afghan woman who has obtained a Ph.D. in cinema, was born in Iran into an Afghan family.

Her debut feature “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha” was screened at Iranian movie theaters last December.

In an interview published afterward, Karimi said that her film is the outcome of helpful Iranians.

She noted, “I asked Iranians to watch this film in order to realize that if Afghan migrants are given an opportunity, they can do great works.”

Iranian producer Nasrin Mirshab, who is also the CEO of Dreamlab, the France-based international distributor, collaborated with Karimi in the film.

“We need to recognize the Afghans who have been living with us for years, we are somehow indebted to them,” Mirshab has said in an interview. 

“About three million Afghans have migrated to Iran and helped us reconstruct our country after the war. They are with us everywhere. However, they are not recognized,” she added.

Last December, the 13th Cinéma Vérité, Iran’s major international documentary film festival, screened Tehran-based Afghan filmmaker Hassan Nuri’s latest documentary in its national competition.

All these events represent Iran’s recognition for the serious current of Afghan immigrant filmmakers, who were inspired by the Mahmudi brothers in Iran with “A Few Cubic Meters of Love”.

Photo: Afghan brothers Jamshid (R) and Navid Mahmudi (2nd R) codirect a scene from the TV series “The Parasol”. 

MMS/YAW

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