Seven Questions for the Next President
House of Cinema, which is the most important nongovernmental guild institution, has posed seven basic questions to presidential candidates on the eve of the 10th presidential election and has asked about their viewpoints on cinema. This is the first time that a nongovernmental institution is inquiring about presidential candidates’ programs. Since the lion’s share of cinema budget is provided by the government and Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the Iranian cinema is managed by one of the departments of that ministry, answers given by candidates will be taken as their official statement on cinema.
The Expelled 2, Number One Bestseller of the Iranian Cinema
Two groups are influential in public screening of Iranian films: owners of movie theaters and Screening Guild Council. When Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance issues screening permits for films (which have no legal or censorship problems) theater owners sign contracts with their producers to screen their films according to a schedule. Screening Guild Council determines regulations as well as the schedule. Its members are producers, directors and theater owners. There are six groups of theaters in Tehran and each group includes a number of movie theaters every one of which is told to screen a certain film and it is not customary for movie theaters to screen every film that they want. Duration of screening also depends on box office returns. If a film sells lower than the standards, it may be taken off the screen in a matter of two weeks.
Anahita is the name of ancient Iranian goddess of water and fertility. Relying on that myth, Azizollah Hamidnejad, the famous Iranian director who has made some good films about Iran-Iraq war, has made a different film. It is the story of a group of students who come across new facts when working on water molecules. Hoor on Fire is one of the most remarkable films of Hamidnejad who brought him many prizes and made him famous. His later works like The Tear of the Cold were also welcomed by critics. Main advantages of his films include believable stories and good performances. He has cast Mitra Hajjar in the main role as Anahita. She left for France five years ago and has not appeared in any Iranian film since then. This will be her first experience after her return to Iran. Crewmembers include Farshad Mohammadi (director of photography), Mahmoud Khorsand (sound recordist), Behzad Kazzazi (production designer), and Kourosh Alizadeh (makeup artist). Main actors include Shahab Hosseini, Narges Mohammadi, Maryam Soltani, Afsaneh Nasseri, Mohammad Reza Davoudnejad, and Pourya Poursorkh. Hamidnejad has noted that Anahita is an actor-based and subject-based story full of riddles. It combines romantic and mystic motifs.
Cinema is one of the most effective means to promote a commodity or product, which can be a detergent, an automobile, or a big island like Kish. The ordering party can be a company or a state-run institution. Short films by famous Iranian directors about Kish were first made in mid-1990s under direct supervision of Mohsen Makhmalbaf (who lived in Iran at that time) and some of them were even screened in Cannes. Similar projects followed, the most important of which was a collection about the Iranian carpet made by different directors under supervision of Reza Mirkarimi. Now, Tehran Municipality has invited three directors from three generations to make films about Tehran. Dariush Mehrjui belongs to the first generation while Seifollah Dad and Mehdi Karampour represent the second and third generations.
Trial on the Street
The latest film of the seasoned Iranian director follows The Boss, which received negative points from most critics. Kimiaei is one of the most prominent directors of the Iranian cinema who has started his career 40 years ago. Although his post-revolutionary films have not been as successful as his early films, his works have been always controversial. When he is going to make a new film, everybody is curious to know about actors and other crewmembers. He has chosen actors of his new film out of young figures. Some of them have already worked with him while others have had their first experience with Kimiaei.
Forty Years Old
Alireza Raeisian is an experienced Iranian director who has been heading Directors Society of House of Cinema for many years and has not have enough time to make many films. In a recent debate between the Society and Farabi Cinema Foundation, the Society’s board of directors and Alireza Raeisian played an important role. After many years, however, Raeisian has decided to make a new film on the adaptation of an Iranian novel by Nahid Tabatabaei, Forty Years Old. It is about a woman who is caught in a new love affair on the threshold of her forties in order to cheer up her boring life. Leila Hatami has posed as the woman. She won the best actress prize of last year’s Fajr Festival.
Living with Closed Eyes
There are two kinds of films on the track record of Rasoul Sadr Ameli. Since he was originally a journalist, he first made melodramas around moral themes related to family, which were also successful at the box office. Then he turned to making films for children and young adults and made a trilogy about situation of young girls in modern Tehran. An episode of that trilogy, namely, I, Taraneh, Am 15, was greatly hailed by critics and viewers and introduced Taraneh Alidousti, the young talented female actress. Then he made two films about pilgrimage, both of which were shot in Mashhad. Now, he has made Living with Closed Eyes about differences between parents and children.
The Maritime Silk Road
Mohammad Bozorgnia, who has worked as Dariush Mehrjui’s assistant for many years, has been always interested in making films about sea. The Ship Angelica, Battle of Oil Tankers, Storm, and The Maritime Silk Road are all about personalities who are one way or another connected to the sea. A Place to Love was his sole film which had nothing to do with the sea. It was made four years ago and was a failure. Some of his films are about contemporary society of Iran (Battle of Oil Tankers, Storm) and some go back in time (The Ship Angelica, The Maritime Silk Road).