29th Il Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival, Bologna (27 June - 4 July 2015)
When film buffs talk passionately about a movie or a Film Festival, I always reserve some doubt! Sometimes the sentiments of some people toward films entangle with so much exaggerations that it seems far from reality. They call a fairly good film a masterpiece and a normal programming of a Festival, the best programming ever seen. And shame on you if they notice you didn’t go to a certain Festival, or you don’t know a certain genius filmmaker! I’m also referring to all the film buffs I knew who always talked admirably about Bologna Film Festival Cinema Rediscovered (Il Cinema Ritrovato). It was clear of course that it’s one of the most professional Festivals in the field of classical cinema. Now going there for the first time, it could be judged at first hand, the admirations of friends and relatives not as mere exaggeration that in fact, the atmosphere, programming and the quality of the films of this Festival are totally different from all I’ve ever seen before.
Talk about Bologna and its inhabitants could perhaps seem repetitive. This is a tiny beautiful and peaceful city, with cultured people, having the oldest university in Europe, and with students mostly from southern Italy; and yellow, orange or red colored buildings with long windows and spacious terraces, agreeable weather and famous foods… But it’s not bad to give a brief description of a Festival that tags like “Cinephiles’ Paradise” or “Cannes Festival of Classical Cinema” doesn’t really give an exact image of. It’s a Festival without any razzle-dazzle, showy opening and closing ceremonies, and strange outfits of its participants. Their audiences are the researchers, university professors, historians, students and generally the film lovers who go there for the films and cinema. In the city center where the...
11th Zurich International Film Festival(Sept.24-Oct.4, 2015)
by Mohammad Mohammadian:
If you think that the same Zurich lovers, whom I wrote about last year, lured me once more to this city, you’re not totally wrong. But there are other reasons too. I’m going to a Festival that’s delightful and mature despite its very young age and at the same time there’s a famous actress whom I want to meet before coming back home. I’m talking about the same actress who said: “My becoming an actress was an accident; I didn’t plan it.”
This year I’m not a stranger at the Festival anymore: there’s a special section, New World View, devoted to Iranian Cinema. Last years it belonged to Turkish, Swedish, Brazilian and Indian Cinema, and this year, it is Iranian Cinema that shines through. Georg Butler, senior programmer of the Festival who knows Iranian cinema well, was present at 33th Fajr International Film Festival. He explains that this programming is because of the Iranian Cinema’s brilliant history, its young and talented filmmakers, and also the curiosity of the Swiss people for Iranian cinema. Corine Mauch, Zurich mayor, on the other hand, says that Iran’s opening towards the West after atomic energy negotiations is the main reason for this programming.
What’s the Time in Your World?, I’m not Angry, Fish and Cat, Wednesday 19 Ordibehesht, Atomic Heart, Nahid, Thirteen, Bright Day, Risk of Acid Rain, Paradise and some shorts and documentaries will be projected on this occasion. I’d even like to watch the ones I’ve seen before, in presence of Zurich audience. As usual the Iranian films have a very good reception here and after the projections, many people stay to participate in Q&A sessions with filmmakers. One of the most appreciated films in this section is Safi Yazdanian’s What’s the Time in Your World? The discussion about the film continues even out of theatre, in the street. Somebody says that after years in exile, I’ve seen a brilliant love story of Iranian cinema which gave me energy and made me nostalgic at the same time- it was so spellbinding that I didn’t want to leave the theatre.
Report on the 10th Zurich International Film Festival (September25-October5, 2014)
By: Mohammad Mohammadian
On a flight from Paris to Zurich and its Film Festival, I met an Iranian student, who majors in Environment at Zurich University. Soon after our meeting he said he knows cinema pretty well. “One of the most important things in movies is love,” he said, “but I’ve rarely seen a love that wholly and completely takes over the spirit of the audience. Even if there are some, they are not truly or deeply felt”. My examples didn’t convince him. So he added victoriously, “but in Zurich, you’re going to find out what I mean, you’re going to find out about love for yourself!”
At first, it seemed to me that with an old and experienced Festival like Locarno, and its open space Piazza Grande auditorium, Zurich would have little to say. But a few days into the Festival, there was a change and Zurich proved that in the first decade of its existence it has steadily grown among an ever widening circle of cinema goers. It established itself so rapidly that you can’t believe it’s only a ten years old Festival. The reasons for this success are easily identified. It certainly has something to do with impeccable management and programming, very enthusiastic audience, and good reception by the filmmakers from around the world in its past ten events. But add to these factors, the beauty of the city itself with its good seasonal weather, and perhaps that student’s enigmatic remark that I still couldn’t fully decipher!
Zurich is the largest and most populated city situated on the slopes of the Alps Mountains on north east of Switzerland. The city stretches on both sides of the Limmat River that flows out of Lake Zurich.
Ahmad Amini is a graduate of film directing from Tehran’s Art University who started his career in films by writing critiques. He made his first feature, Shadows of Invasion, in 1992 which was a Western-style movie about the war between Iran and Iraq. His credit was established after making four features. Without Farewell…is his fifth feature which he has directed after an eight-year interregnum. It is about personal life of a famous Iranian pop star, Reza Sadeqi. Sadeqi, who is paraplegic due to an oversight by his doctor in childhood has now chosen black shirt as his trademark and has many fans. Many Iranian producers have been planning to make a film on his personal life since many years ago. Mohammad Neshat was one of them who has been trying to get Sadeqi’s consent since two years ago. The film was first to be made by Kioumars Pourahmad (who had indicated his willingness to make a film about Iranian singers), but he was later replaced with Amini.
The Orange Suit
Veteran filmmaker, Dariush Mehrjui started to film his latest movie in October 2011 while his previous movie Beloved Sky has not been screened yet. The story of The Orange Suit is about a photographer who tries to purify his soul by keeping clean the city in which he lives. The color orange in the title of this film alludes to the color of the city cleaners’ outfit.
Mehrjui has written the screenplay of this film in collaboration with his wife Vahideh Mohammadifar who has also worked on the screenplays of Mehrjui’s other recent films. The main character is played by Hamed Behdad in his first experience of working with Mehrjui.
"Snow on Pines"
Peiman Mo’adi is famous for his parts in two of Asghar Farhadi’s films, About Elli (2009) and Nader and Simin: A Separation (2011). Before acting, he wrote screenplays for such films as Swan Song, Coma, Thirst, Wedding Dinner, and Café Setareh all of which were among bestsellers. Mo’adi has also made two short films and has started making his new feature, Snow on Pines, since late March. He is specifically interested in directing. He had set aside one of his screenplays, Hawk, for himself since many years ago, but the screenplay which reflected on social issues was turned down by Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
"Kissing the Face of the Moon"
Homayoun As’adian made Gold and Cooper last year which drew a lot of critical acclaim. The idea for this eighth film has come from producer of Gold and Cooper, Manouchehr Mohammadian. This is the third film by As’adian after Gold and Cooper and Ten-Digits which is produced by Manouchehr Mohammadi. Production of Kissing the Face of the Moon started in early April and continued for 45 sessions. The screenplay has been written by As’adian. Unlike his past works which were about young people, the new film focuses on two old women who are neighbors and who have been waiting for 20 years for their sons to come back from the warfronts.
Khosrow Ma’soumi started his film career with Meeting some 25 years ago. His most important work is a collection of films he has made on wood smuggling in northern Iranian forests: Tradition of Killing the Lovers (2002), A Faraway Place (2005) and The Wind Twists in the Meadow (2007). Excessive felling of trees in the Iranian forests is a major environmental concern which has sometimes turned criminal and forest guards have been killed by smugglers. Ma’soumi has focused on that violence in his films. His new work, The Bear, is his tenth feature which is also about the same subject. A young cleric who is also a carpenter has been away for many years during Iran-Iraq war. Back at his village, he is told that a wood smuggler nicknamed Bear has damaged his house.
Documentary film channel
A documentary film channel was launched about a year ago, but increased both in quality and quantity from the beginning of the spring 2011. Documentary films followed no specific schedule in the Iranian TV and every channel had its own schedule, which sometimes included documentary items (that still continue). Channel 4, which is known as scientific channel and whose programs are special to the educated and specialist people, has been more focused on documentary films. The new channel, however, has made airing documentary films more regular. Based on opinion polls conducted by the channel, 80 percent of the audience has been satisfied with its programs.