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Iran's "Under the Moonlight" grabs top award at the KL film fest

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 19, IRNA -- Iranian movie "Under The Moonlight" won the Best Overall Award at the end of the two-day inaugural Kuala Lumpur World Film Festival here last night.

The movie, with its content of peace, humanity and non-discrimination, had also won the Best Critics' Award at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

The winner received a crystal glass trophy, certificate and cash prize of US$15,000, presented by the Malaysian King, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, which was broadcast live over the Malaysia's state-owned TV station, RTM.

The second best overall award went to Born In Absurd Distant from Austria, with the winner receiving a trophy, certificate and cash prize of US$12,000.

The third prize went to Nowhere In Africa from Germany, which received a trophy, certificate and cash prize of US$10,000.

The festival was held in conjunction with the 13th Non-Aligned Movement Summit (NAM) from Feb 20 to 25 with the theme "Peace, Harmony, Non-Violence and Non-Discrimination."

Four other awards given out were best film for peace: The Grand Illusion (France); best film for humanity: Sayang Salmah (Malaysia); best film for non-discrimination: Iron Ladies (Thailand) and best film for friendship: If I Ever See You Again (Mexico). The winners received a trophy, certificate and cash prize of US$5,000 each.

Information Minister Khalil Yaakob said The Kuala Lumpur World Film Festival, themed "Peace, Harmony, Non-Violence and Non-Discrimination", would be an annual affair and would have the same theme, as proposed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking at the opening of a symposium held in conjunction with the festival, Khalil said he was pleased with the coverage given to the festival by local and foreign media.

The festival, which was on for two days from Sunday, featured 41 films from 36 countries.

Each country was allowed to submit only one entry to compete for three prizes in the "Perdana (Premier)" award and four prizes in the "Jury Merit" award

Earlier in the day, at the symposium several movie makers shared their views on the world affairs and movie-making.

They agreed that films, irrespective of their language, can play an important role in fostering and maintaining peace and harmony in today's world.

In his speech, Manucher Mohamadi, who produced "Under the Moonlight" reminded that a film should not rely on old formulas of sex and soap operas but instead propagate the values of fair play, peace, harmony and non-violence.

Mohamadi noted that the Iranian cinema workers after the Islamic Revolution of Iran selected a route not to be as a copy of Hollywood because the cliche and imitative cinema can never represent the realities of the target society.

In fact, he stressed that attaining to the originality of the themes was a secret for the success of Iranian cinema.

Mohamadi said the theme of Iranian cinema, which has been able to attract the attention of many in the world is caring for the human beings with all their problems, mind occupations regardless of the fact that they are man, woman, child, old or young.

"How the human being is living and what way he chooses for his life is important. You might have watched the Iranian movies. In many of these movies we can observe the appreciable and pure occasions in human being life," he added.

Mohamadi warned that the superficial romance and love movies in which sex or violence has been used may attract and mesmerize the cinema audiences for some time, but its influence is impermanent and superficial.

The dream-creating cinema may present the magnificent palaces in front of audiences' eyes, but the audiences will soon find out the differences between the real life and cinema, he said.

"Exactly like a magician, who plays tricks while the audiences know that all these plays are only a lie and illusion and impossible in the real world," he said, adding that therefore, the cinema worker should have one eye on the reality of life and human being and another eye on a better and accessible future.

He also noted that the Iranian cinema workers found out that the costly decorations, the technologically developed cameras, computer special effects and huge investment are not the factors producing a good movie, but a new and innovative idea is effective and essential.

"You can see after so many years passed, the works of some valuables actors in the world like Charles Chaplin are still new and untouched while the techniques and facilities used in these films are much less developed than now," he said.

He pointed out that all the movies of Charles Chaplin are opposing the violence like The Great Dictator or denouncing the poverty and discrimination like the New Era.

Mohamadi said cinema is an image of the world of today, and then it must be its representative as well.

"To know how the primitive humans used to live, we unearth archeologically and by looking at the tools and broken dishes or the ancient coins and manuscripts we try to figure out how those humans used to live and think."

In his opinion, Mohamadi said the future humans will also come to know about "our life by watching the movies we make."

"They will know how we used to live in the past and what was important for us. Therefore, let's act in way to make the humans in the future to wish they could have lived in our time.

"If we can picturize love to humanity, love to purity and goodness, our children will be surely proud of us," he added.

Mohamadi described that although the film festival in Malaysia is young, its theme and objective is great and humane.

He ended his speech by reading an Iranian contemporary poet's work: Do not make the water muddy, a dove is drinking water further a bit, a girl is filling her jar with water further a bit and further a thirsty tree is drinking from this water. As far as the tulip exists life must be lived.

... Payvand News - 2/19/03 ... --

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