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Finnish documentary counters anti-Iran propaganda in US film


London, Nov 21, IRNA -- A Finnish documentary, countering smears made against Iran in the 1990 US movie 'Not Without My Daughter', is being screened at next week's IDFA film festival in Amsterdam.

Iranian-born Finnish director of 'Without My Daughter,' Alexis Kouros, said that the aim of the 90-minute documentary was to "show the lies in the American film and present the real story behind" what turned into an acrimonious custody battle for Mahtab Mahmoody.

The US movie, based on a true story of American mother Betty Mahmoody, portrayed the father and stereotyped Iranians as cruel characters and wife-beaters.

But Kouros told IRNA that the opposite was true about Bozorg Mahmoody, who is currently preparing his own memoirs to be published in English and Farsi, saying he is highly educated and worked as an anaesthetist in a Tehran hospital.

To balance the sensationalism in Betty Mahmoody's escape from Iran with her six-year old daughter, the Finnish director said he gathered evidence in both Iran and the US.

But he complained that the mother was uncooperative and suspects that she prevented his requests to speak with the daughter, now aged 23.

Kouros, previously a medical doctor, has made two previous documentaries, 'Waiting for Godot in De Gaulle', based upon the 11-year-old plight of an Iranian living in a Paris airport and a UNHCR film on how 200 Afghan refugees in Iran were selected to live in Finland.

During his 12 years in Finland, he has also written two books: Gundwana, which won a literary prize in Finland, and Dreamcatcher, which won the Peter Pan award in Sweden.

Kouros said that 'Without My Daughter,' which is currently on release in Finland, was financed by television channels in Finland, Sweden and Denmark as well as a French-German station, but received no funding at all from Iran.

He also spoke about music score for the documentary being a unique Persian-Western experience, composed by Finnish artist Tuomas Kantelinen who works with musicians in Iran. He also revealed that Finnish television was making a program about how the music was scored.

The Finnish director told IRNA that his next project was to do a follow-up of Finnish television on how the 200 Afghan refugees had adapted to life in Finland after coming from Iran.

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