Magazine article Screen International

Farhadi : My Films Don't Represent All of Iran

Magazine article Screen International

Farhadi : My Films Don't Represent All of Iran

Article excerpt

Iranian director holds filmmaker master-class in Zurich to discuss his working methods, style and his next film.

Iranian director Asgar Farhadi was in Zurich Sunday as the subject of a filmmaker master-class.

During the wide-ranging session, the festival favourite and Oscar-winner discussed his working methods, filmmaking style, casting decisions and his next film, starring Berenice Bejo and Tahar Rahim.

Farhadi told a rapt audience that he began his directing career aged 13, before studying theatre at university: "Despite realising that I wanted to make films instead of theatre, I'm glad I started there," Farhadi said. "I learnt about drama and tragedy through the theatre."

Farhadi said that at university and soon after he watched Ingmar Bergman and Krzysztof Kieslowski films, but that he was particularly inspired by Italian directors such as Vittorio de Sica and Federico Fellini.

Asked about how he prepares for a film, Farhadi said he wasn't sure where ideas came from at times, but when they did arrive he would pursue them rigorously: "It's very hard to know how ideas come to you. Initially, I take time to think about a project but when I start writing I write from morning until night. I spent eight months writing About Elly, for example."

Farhadi's filmmaking is often praised for is its impartiality. He discussed this in response to a question about whether A Separation is an indictment of Iranian society: "I can't tell you what to make of the film. It is up to you to decide what it is. But this isn't a symbolic film, it's a realistic film [in style]".

That impartiality is also apparent in his camera-work: "I want to pretend that there is no camera. So, the camera only moves when people move. It only follows the actors. In A Separation the camera becomes an afterthought. It doesn't make judgments. The camera should be fair with each actor. …

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