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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


April 26, 2000

Mehrjui: The director & and the man

On Saturday April 22, Dariush Mehrjoui was at New York's Lincoln Center to have a talk. I thought, "What else could a middle-age Iranian guy living in the U.S. ask for on a Saturday afternoon?" I love Iran's blooming movie industry and Mehrjoui in particualr. But wait a minute. Don't get too excited! Always expect the unexpected!

Iranian cinema in the last 10-15 years has captured the heart of millios of viewers all over the world in addition to winning a lot of prestigous international prizes. Dariush Mehrjoui is one of the leading figures of this movement whose role goes back before the 1979 revolution.

However, it seems like Mehrjoui the person is not as impressive as Mehrjoui the director (remember, when you are very good, people's expectations are usually higher. We have a great proverb that says, "Derakht harcheh baarash bishtar ast, oftaadeh (khamideh) tar ast". No matter how successful we are in any field including art, sports or science, the most beautiful character we can have is the beauty of modesty.

If you are an artist, you put your heart and into your art to communicate. And if you do make that communicaton you are already a winner. Who cares how many international prizes? Another basic issue is respecting other people who are doing the same type of work as you are doing.

I drove a 100 miles to New York to respect an Iranian movie director. Why doesn't Mr. Mehrjoui have that respect toward Iranian movie directors in general as well? Why exclude Kiarostami and attack other directors and even Fardin who died less than two weeks ago? What is wrong with making a movie about a blind or a poor person or making movies which have never been shown in Iran (or maybe have never had the chance to?) What's wrong with being one of a few successful Iranian artists but not the only one?

Faramarz Kaviani


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