Dhaka, (UNB) – Teleghraph : Despite owning some of the world’s largest reserves of hydrocarbons (oil and gas), the Middle Eastern nation of Iran stands out as unique in its region for having captured a place in people’s hearts in every corner of the globe through a purely creative pursuit – namely cinema.
By the time Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’ became the first Iranian winner of the prestigious Best Foreign Language Film award at the Academy Awards, Oscar in 2012, a culmination of an extraordinarily rich vein of creativity dating back at least to Darius Mehjui’s Gaav (The Cow, 1969) Iran’s New Wave Cinema had emerged as its most famed and essential export.
The superior storytelling and visual mastery of Iranian films have long been admired by Bangladeshis, and film societies such as Rainbow, who are behind Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF), have always accorded due importance to the Iranian section in their programmes. The work of the surprisingly resourceful and engaging Iranian Cultural Centre also merits mention in this regard.
Looking to drive the engagement with the Iranian film fraternity deeper still, this year the organisers of DIFF invited the Managing Director of Tehran’s Farabi Cinema Foundation, Alireza Tabesh, to be a part of DIFF 2019.
Founded in 1983, the Farabi Cinema Foundation, as the biggest body in the Iranian Film industry, is the leading company in the fields of production, international distribution and promotion of Iranian films.
During his stay, Ali Reza Tabesh was specifically invited to think of strategies for synergy between the two countries in the field of cinema. He has pointed to the existing areas of potential cooperation and said festivals in both countries for children and young adults could pave the way for the production of more movies.
The Bangladeshi actor, director and producer, Ananta Jalil, met Alireza Tabesh at his office in Tehran last year to discuss ways to collaborate with the Iranian foundation. UNB’s Shafikul Islam sat down with the Iranian (ART) after the conclusion of DIFF 2019 to learn what he had managed to learn.
Tabesh stressed the need for more cooperation and taking advantage of cultural and cinematic capacities. Referring to historical, cultural and religious commonalities between the two countries, he said these potentials have provided a foundation for cultural and cinema relations.
UNB: How are you feeling in Bangladesh?
ART: I am very much delighted to visit Bangladesh on the occasion of participating in Dhaka International Film Festival. You know that Iran has the active participation in the festival every time. Many films from Iran compete here. Many film-related persons are invited to the festival. I am very much happy to be a part of it.
UNB: Have you seen any Bangladeshi film? Please share your experience.
ART: I have little experience of watching Bangladesh films. I saw some films at the festival. I am informed that commercial aspect gets the priority in making the films. But I know Bangladesh has many talented filmmakers who can produce better films. I also know the name of many good filmmakers- Tareque Masud, Zahir Raihan, Alamgir Kabir.
UNB: How the festival can be helpful for the filmmakers?
ART: Iranian films have gained the attraction from everywhere. They are accepted around the world for their high standards. Iran has been participating in the festival since its inception. Twenty-five films, including four in Asian competition, five in International Section, five in Women Filmmakers Section, five in Children Section and six in the Spiritual Section have participated in the film festival.
Alongside Bangladesh, films are participating in many festivals in Iran. This collaboration is important for both countries to exchange experience and share their views.
UNB: How was it possible for Iranian films to gain popularity without using any sex, violence scenes?
ART: Iran has 120 years of experience in filmmaking. Entertainment also exists in Iranian films. The Iranian film industry is one of the vital industries in the world. Iranian films mainly focus on the humane, ethical and spiritual issues. Though films in Hollywood and Bollywood are big budget films, Iran films with low budget have influence around the world. The main reason behind it is that we emphasise on the story of the films. So, if the story is attractive, we do not need to add sex, violence [scenes] in the film. Iranian films also promote the versatility of the culture and reflection of real life.
UNB: Do you have any suggestion for Bangladeshi filmmakers?
ART: Bangladesh needs to focus on the different type of world standard movies parallel to other film lines of the world. Alongside, introduction with the good stories, filmmakers should use the latest technology and updates for making their films. Iran’s culture-oriented, humanitarian and educational cinemas can be good for the development of the Bangladesh cinema.