Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:13 pm (KSA) 16:13 pm (GMT)

Iranian director aims to change homeland image

Iranian filmmaker aims to change his country’s image in the West (Courtesy to cinemajidi.com)
Iranian filmmaker aims to change his country’s image in the West (Courtesy to cinemajidi.com)

With his latest film on country life in Iran, director Majid Majidi hoped to show Western audiences a different and richer image of his homeland that challenged stereotypical portrayals of Iran by western media.

Majidi, best known for his Oscar-nominated film "Children of Heaven," is back in U.S. cinemas this month with his latest movie “Song of Sparrows," a touching story of an ostrich farmer who falls on hard times.

 Trying to just look at everything from the political aspect and ignoring a nation with such a long history, such a rich culture, hurts the image of Iran in the world 
Majid Majidi, Iranian film director

The film, released in American theaters on Friday, earned critical plaudits for its portrayal of rural life in Iran and striking cinematography depicting the country's natural beauty.

Majidi told reporters he wanted the film to give audiences a view of Iran different from its common portrayal in U.S. media as an ideological foe hell-bent on acquiring a nuclear arsenal.

"The damaged portrait about Iran in the western news media is the wrong image," Majidi said. "Trying to just look at everything from the political aspect and ignoring a nation with such a long history, such a rich culture, hurts Iran's image in the world.

Correcting the image

From Majid Majidi ‘s Oscar-nominated film “Children of Heaven”

"Iranian cinema is trying to correct that image, to give the real image of Iran and the people of Iran."

Majidi, 49, who was influenced by legendary U.S. director John Ford among others, said Iran's burgeoning film industry often had to operate by guesswork when it came to dealing with state censors in the Islamic republic.

Celebrated contemporaries such as Mohsen Makhmalbaf saw their work fall victim to the censors.

 A film could be censored under one government and win an award under the next government 
Majid Majidi

"There is not really a standard way of dealing with films in Iran. It really depends on the taste of the people who are in government at that time," Majidi told AFP through an interpreter.

"Under (pro-reform president) Mohammad Khatami it was a little bit easier; with the recent government it has become tougher. The problem is it's not regulated, so you really don't know what the situation is.”

"A film could be censored under one government and win an award under the next government."

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