“Sun Children” director Majidi storms presser at Venice with criticism of sanctions on Iran  

September 7, 2020 - 18:54

TEHRAN – Director Majid Majidi lodged stern criticisms of the U.S. sanctions on Iran during a press conference for his latest drama “Sun Children” on child labor in Iran at the 77th Venice Film Festival on Sunday.

Majidi and a number of crew members are on the Italian Lido to promote the film at the major international film event.

The film is about Ali, a 12-year-old boy and his three friends who work hard together to survive and support their families. They do small jobs in a garage and commit petty crimes to make fast money. Everything changes, however, when Ali is entrusted to find a hidden treasure underground but must first enroll in the Sun School, a charitable institution that tries to educate street kids and child laborers.

“What is portrayed in the film is a global issue that is not limited to one country, but the damage some West Asian countries are facing due to wars is more serious,” Majidi lamented.

“Our country has been under severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. government over the past 40 years, and at present, since coronavirus is a mutual affliction all over the globe, one of our most serious problems is that these sanctions threaten access to certain medicines,” he added.

He said that children and families are most vulnerable to wars and political upheavals, and added, “Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and our other neighboring countries are always suffering from wars and political crises.”
One of Iran’s serious problems is that people have illegally emigrated from these countries to Iran as a result of the wars and regional crises.

The cast members of “Sun Children”, Shamila Shirzad and her brother, Abolfazl, are two children born to an Afghan family in Iran.

These two, as well as other child members of the cast, were selected through auditions that Majidi held among the children making a living from peddling in the Tehran metro.

“A key topic the film intends to emphasize is the social responsibility people have in their societies,” Majidi said and added, “Governments are not my problem in this film, but I want to say that people should fulfill their own social duties and responsibilities on each issue.”    

In their Twitter accounts, Cinema Organization of Iran director Hossein Entezami and Fajr Film Festival president Ebrahim Darughezadeh praised Majidi’s remarks during the press conference at the Venice festival.

“An artist is the voice of the people,” Entezami commented, while Darughezadeh wrote, “Majidi used the opportunity at the Venice festival to condemn the oppression of the Iranian people and violation of their rights.”  

Celluloid Dreams, a major French film production and distribution company, is handling international sales. “Sun Children” premiered during February in Tehran at the 38th edition of the Fajr Film Festival, which honored it with the Crystal Simorgh for best film.

Co-written by Majidi and Nima Javidi, the film also won the award for best screenplay.

Photo: Iranian director Majid Majidi attends a photocall for the film “Sun Children” during the 77th Venice Film Festival on the Italian Lido on September 6, 2020. (AFP/Tiziana Fabi)

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