Kiarostami and Opera
At first, it looked incredible, but it was true. Kiarostami is now engaged in opera, or in better words, opera has engaged him! Before him, a number of famous filmmakers had been active in that field, but opera was part of their cultural characteristics. Kiarostami is planning to premiere Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutta opera in Aix-en-Provence musical festival of France from June 4 to June 19, 2008. Kiarostami has told AFP that he would be very active in his new experience. He has noted that when the idea was first proposed to him, he rejected it, but he has changed his mind since then. “Now that I have changed my mind, I think that performing an opera should not be more difficult than making a film. There are many limitations in opera, but not so serious as to prevent my work.”
Christophe Rousset, the French conductor of Baroque Orchestra, will direct the musical opera which will be produced in cooperation with English National Opera. The opera will premiere in France before its performance in England.
Filmmakers’ Letter of Protest: Answers and Reactions
Not screening some of the Iranian films in Fajr International Film Festival has been source of much controversy during the past few years. Of course, it cannot be solely blamed on censorship, but half of about 100 films which apply to take part at the festival, are not accepted due to limited capacity of this event. Some of them are not screened at the festival because technical phases take so long. However, before the beginning of this year’s edition of Fajr International Film Festival, the selection board decided to exclude some famous films; a decision which led to unprecedented controversies. Perhaps screening The Dulcimer Player in last year’s festival and its consequences, prompted some cinema authorities to make a final decision on some films during the festival. Censorship of some films and banning others elicited various reactions from filmmakers who wrote a polite letter to cinema authorities expecting a clear answer from them and cultural policymakers.
Distribution of Illegal DVDs of The Dulcimer Player
One year after screening of The Dulcimer Player in last year’s Fajr International Film Festival and following a whole year of controversies and conflicting news about public screening of the film or its prohibition, the worst fears of producers came true and illegal DVDs of the film were sold on streets. This was a repetition of what had already happened to The Lizard, Offside, and The Expelled. The difference, however, was that The Lizard was partially, but successfully, screened at theaters, The Expelled had broken sales record of the Iranian cinema, and Offside had both taken part in international festivals and sold overseas.
Iranian Style “Copyright”
The Iranian president issued an order endorsing the law for punishment of those who are illegally engaged in audio and visual activities. According to that law, all forms of commercial activities in production, distribution, and presentation of audio and visual works, tapes and CDs would be only possible after obtaining relevant permits from Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and violators would be sentenced to pecuniary punishment ranging from 1,000 euros to 10,000 euros. The law has also obliged the police to prevent such activities, close down all places engaged in these activities and arrest offenders.