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Kiarostami yearns for Iranian premieres after 12 years

Report by Mehr News Agency, photos by Amir Pourmand, ISNA

World-renowned Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami is upset that his films have not been permitted to be screened in Iran over the past 12 years.

"I have always been accused of making films for foreign audiences but the accusations have intensified over the years and I have never taken the opportunity to respond to them," he said during a workshop held on Saturday at Tehran's Mah-e Mehr Gallery to elaborate on his latest film "Shirin".



"I feel sad that my films have not been given a premiere permit over the past 12 years and this intensifies the accusations," he lamented.



"No filmmaker can consider specific audiences for his film before screening; it is also incorrect to assume that I make film for intellectuals," he said in response to the accusation.


Many of his intellectual friends find his personal character more amazing than his films, he said.



"Meanwhile, the very same films have been praised by many people who would not be considered intellectuals or highly educated," he added.


He criticized Iranian cultural officials for their discrimination against independent filmmakers, saying, "They have problem with independent filmmakers; they don't like my films; they decide what people watch, and unfortunately, our people think that I am not interested in screening my films in Iran."



Films have to receive a production and screening license from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Iran.


Kiarostami described "Shirin" as an exceptional film that he would have liked to have been the last of his filmmaking career.



"I find something new every time I watch it," he said.


"Shirin" is simply a parade of close-ups of 113 Iranian actresses and also French star Juliette Binoche, who are watching a film which we never see.




"I never made 'Shirin'," said Kiarostami, who won a Palme d'Or for "Taste of Cherry" at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, "I only prepared the environment that helped the actresses express their feelings."


A number of Iranian artists, including calligrapher Mohammad Ehsaii and photographer Seifollah Samadian, also attended the workshop.


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