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"About Elly" director amazed by win at Berlinale

Photos by Azin Zanjani, Mehr News Agency

TEHRAN, Feb. 22 (Mehr News Agency) -- Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi expressed his amazement, saying that he did not expect his film "About Elly" to win an award at the 59th Berlin film festival.

In a press conference held here at the Resaneh Cultural Center on Saturday, the cast and crew members of the film attended the session and answered questions posed by reporters.

Farhadi won a Silver Bear for the best director for "About Elly" at the 59th Berlin Film Festival last week.

From left to right, actress Merila Zarei, director Asghar Farhadi, actors Peyman Ma'adi and Saber Abar, and producer Mahmud Razavi (rear) arrive at a press conference held at Tehran's Resaneh Cultural Center after Farhadi won the Silver Bear for best director for "About Elly" at the 59th Berlin film festival.

"We planned to hold a session right after we returned home from Berlin, since our review session was not held in Tehran after its screening at the 27th Fajr Film Festival like other movies since we were in Berlin to promote the movie at the time.

"When left for Berlin, I did not expect to win an award and were planning to return, but our tickets were not confirmed and we had to stay longer. Then, much to our surprise, we got the award at the closing ceremony," he explained.

Merila Zarei

Concerning the reviews written about the movie in German newspapers, he said, "Some of the reviews published in the papers were satisfactory. Some reviews highlighted the screenplay, stage and costume design, mise en scene, and sound quality, which shows the reviews mostly focused on Iran's cinema rather than on minor issues and hearsay."

Farhadi also stressed that no film can give a complete image of a country, adding, "My film is not guaranteed to be an encyclopedia of Iran. I actually don't think any movie can present a perfect image of a country and the reviews focusing on these kinds of issues were bothersome.

On the main theme of the story, he said, "'About Elly' does not mean to narrate the story of typical people in Iran. This story could happen anywhere only the reactions to events may differ. This outlook which was observed in the reviews was a greater award for us than the Silver Bear."

Asghar Farhadi

Director Farhadi later expressed his gratitude to those who helped remove obstacles to screening in Iran and said, "Several cinematic figures whom I did not know well even tried to help remove obstacles and finally, the problem was solved with the help of Javad Shamaqdari and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"About Elly" had faced problems in obtaining the Culture Ministry's approval for participating in the festival due to the appearance of one of the film's stars, Golshifteh Farahani, in "Body of Lies," a Hollywood film.

Farhadi also remarked that the press in Iran before and after the movie screening covered the news well and watched the movie without any hearsay report.

"I prefer to make use of the word realism rather than bitter for my movies. I think my movies enjoy such an atmosphere, and the actors were well aware of this fact when they chose to play in this project.

"I regard this movie as a trip to northern Iran accompanied by a group of friends whose activities were recorded by a hidden camera. I did not want them to feel the presence of the camera and preferred that the characters communicate with viewers directly," he concluded.

"About Elly" tells the story of middle class Iranians whose trip to the Caspian Sea turns into a tragedy as they try to uphold their social customs.

Actors Shahab Hosseini, Peyman Ma'adi, Saber Abar, Merila Zarei and producer Mahmud Razavi also gave short speeches at the session.

Producer Razavi announced that the movie will probably hit silver screens in Noruz or summer.

... Payvand News - 02/22/09 ... --

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