"I came to Iran to get feelings from being inside the country and not just through newspapers, as I think we can not get the real image of a country through mass media."
Tehran, 12 April 2006_Ladan M. Sadeghioon (CHN) -- "Sharing feelings and thoughts is the abstract reality of life," said Juliette Binoche, famous French actress who traveled to Iran for a short visit by the invitation of the prominent Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami.
In an exclusive interview with CHN, Juliette Binoche, the academy award-winning French actress, talked about the reasons that interested her in visiting Iran and said, "I exchanged emails with Kiarostami last time I saw him and following his invitation I came here. Of course I had met him before in several festivals and I myself was interested in coming here to get feelings from being inside the country and not just through reading newspapers, because I think we can not get the real image of a country through mass media. What I am looking for is to face the reality of life in this country and have relationship with its people."
"When I came here I felt familiarity with the people and the country. For me coming to Iran was not like coming to another world. I felt I am at home. Of course I should mention that watching some films of Kiarostami like 'Under the Olive Tree' which shows the realities of life of common people in Iran had a great effect on me. I like Kiarostami's films because he makes documentary films," she added.
Wearing a headscarf which is required of women in Iran, Binoche who looked quite different from what we had seen of her before talked about her interests in the history, beliefs and traditions of ancient countries and finding out more about them and said: "I like to know more about Sumerians who lived in the lands of Iran and Iraq long time ago. As far as I know these people had writing systems and enjoyed a great civilization. For me coming to Iran is a way of understanding the roots of humanity. I like finding out more about Zoroaster too."
Just like many people who visit this country for the first time, Binoche was surprised to learn how remotely different is the image she had drawn of this country in her mind before coming to Iran with the reality that exists in this country: "Before coming to Iran I thought of this country as a far away land which is mysterious and somehow dangerous, but watching Kiarostami's films helped me in changing my image about Iran. Of course I knew Hafez poems. I had bought the English version of this book and I should say that Hafez poems are inspirational and their spiritual meaning had a great effect on me. I gave this book to two of my colleagues and they also got interested in it and ordered it through the Amazon website."
This famous actress described her goals from traveling to Iran and said: "I love traveling because I think it is the way to explore the world. I am a curious person and I like searching. Before coming to Iran I was in Argentina and Hungary. The reason I came here was to first visit Iran to fulfill my curiosity and also to know Kiarostami better and see if we can work together. I had the opportunity to visit many people and go to their houses and I should point out that I really got impressed by Iranian hospitality and the way they welcomed me. I am looking for sharing experiences with Kiarostami and learn more about Iran and Iranians."
During her stay in Iran, Binoche visited Tehran and Isfahan. She admitted that being in these two cities was quite a different experience for her. "I was surprised by watching all these mountains surrounding Tehran. I have seen so many cities in the world and as far as I am concerned there are special locations for trees like parks, but here we can see trees everywhere, which are really beautiful. It seems that roads are made around the trees in this country. Besides Tehran I visited Isfahan and I enjoyed the colorful tiles used in historical monuments and mosques. However, what grabbed my attention was to see people sing at the bottom of the two ancient bridges (Khajoo and Sio-Se Pol) in this city. Walking through the mountains and passing from deserts are wonderful because these things make us think about every thing deeply. For me as an actress, people's beliefs and their characters and methods of life are important. One can go to many places, but what is important is with whom you do this. I had the privilege to visit Isfahan with my friends and it was a great experience," she added.
"Through this trip I became familiar with some of Kiarostami's friends in filmmaking. They gave me DVDs of their films which I am going to watch as soon as I go back to France. I watched films from two other Iranian directors here, but in my opinion Kiarostami is the master of others in this regard since he conveys the exact reality through his films," Binoche said.
She also explained her own idea about Hollywood and said: "I can not survive there. I am not looking for gaining money or fame. I like to be in contact with the people and the reality of life. Many people go to Hollywood for making money or doing some career, but I do not like that kind of living and I think everyone can be successful by paying attention to her or his own capabilities."
At the end, she concluded by saying "for discovering a country one should be in contact with the people who live in it, by going to their houses, eating what they eat and so on. A tourist can not get the real image of a country without making direct contacts with its people."
Juliette Binoche who stayed about a week in Iran left this country last night while hoping to come back and visit Iran again in the future.
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