Iran General NewsPolitics force Iranian director to work abroad

Politics force Iranian director to work abroad


AFP: Acclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami has revealed that the political climate in his homeland is forcing him to work overseas.

By Mathew Scott

BUSAN, South Korea (AFP) — Acclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami has revealed that the political climate in his homeland is forcing him to work overseas.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 15th Pusan International Film Festival, Kiarostami said the situation saddened him but that he had to accept it as he wanted to continue making films.

His latest film, “Certified Copy” was shot in Italy and the director said he was now looking further afield for his next production.

“I think my next film will be done somewhere around here, whether that be South Korea or in Japan,” said the 70 year-old.

“The (political) situation inside Iran is not ideal for making a film. Naturally I would prefer to make a film in my own language but at the moment this is just not possible.

“But as a filmmaker it is important that if one door is closed to you, you have to find another that is open. And that is what I have done by making films overseas.

“It doesn’t mean I am unhappy with the films I have made outside Iran — cinema language is a universal language. But I would like to make a film in my own language.”

Kiarostami is at Asia’s largest film festival to promote the nuanced love story “Certified Copy”, which won Juliette Binoche the best actress award at this year’s Cannes Film festival.

Like the Iranian director’s previous successes, such as the Cannes Palme d’Or-winning “Taste of Cherry” (1997), “Certified Copy” is a film that concentrates on communication and on the human condition.

Binoche, who is also in Busan, said the pair had dealt with those themes from the first time they had met to discuss the film.

“I came to Tehran to meet Abbas and at first I thought am I going to be able to come to Tehran knowing that the relationship between the western world and the Middle East is not that great. He said it is not that terrible so finally I came,” she said.

“The first day when I came to his home I was worried because I thought a man and a woman alone in a house …

“So I was very straightforward with Abbas. I said I want friendship, I want art, I want sharing our lives and everything but I don’t want a relationship. Everybody knows the stories about directors and their actresses.

“And he was so relieved that he didn’t have to go through the process of a relationship that we started to have a beautiful friendship.”

The Oscar-winning French actress said Kiarostami and Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien, with whom she made 2008’s “Flight of the Red Balloon”, have had the biggest effect on her cinematic career and on her life.

“There are two directors in my heart that I have been sharing my life with on set and off set and they are those two directors,” she said. “They both changed my whole life. They changed my acting and they changed my choices.”

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