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Iranian filmmaker says his films don't tarnish image of Iran

TEHRAN, Aug. 23 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian filmmaker Saman Salur says that he has never tarnished the image of Iran in his films.

His comedy "A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral" (2006) recently won the Special Jury Prize in the Filmmakers of the Present section at the 59th Locarno International Film Festival.

"I live in Iran and I believe that we should solve our problems ourselves and refrain from bringing them up abroad. As an Iranian filmmaker, I don't intend to sully the image of my country in my films, by any means," he told the Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.

After Salur's "A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral" won a Golden Leopard at the Locarno festival, the director was accused of tarnishing the image of Iran with his film.

Last week, Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi was asked why his ministry has granted a screening license to the film which some say 'insults the Iranian identity'.

At a press conference held to explain the ministry's activities in the run-up to Government Week (August 24-30), he said, "If that is the case, I will investigate the film."

The film is about two workers at a roadside service station who find themselves with little to no work because the main highway now takes a detour. One of them begins to behave strangely, occasionally disappearing and becoming obsessed with weather reports. The other falls in love with a girl he has never met, to whom he sends passionate love letters that are returned to the postman.

"Fortunately, the culture minister and his colleagues are intelligent enough not to be affected by such an action. However, I will accept all reasonable and fair criticism," Salur said.

"We should learn to be happy about each other's success and not attack a film in order to put ourselves in the limelight," he lamented.

"A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral" had three screenings at the Locarno festival for an audience of about 2500 people each time.

"If European filmgoers don't like a film, they either leave the theater or boo the film, but the audiences gave 'A Few Kilos of Dates' approximately five-minute standing ovations after the screenings," Salur said.

"Some experts in Locarno said that Iranian cinema is changing and is experiencing a transition from screening films on the themes of poverty and misery in the villages and suburbs," he added.

Iranian award-winner Asghar Farhadi's "Chahrshanbeh-Suri" also won a prize in one of the sideline sections of this year's Locarno film festival.

... Payvand News - 8/23/06 ... --

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