Iranian Director elaborates on his movie ‘Farewell’

Tehran, April 30, IRNA – ‘Farewell’ narrates the story of a male factory worker who is living with the memory of his deceased love and cannot let it go until he meets a new girl.

Speaking to Iran Daily on the sidelines of a press conference after the screening of his movie at the ongoing 33rd Fajr International Festival, Farzad Motamen, the flick’s director, said he made the film based on a screenplay by Asghar Abdollahi.

Commenting on why he chose the working class and industrial environment [a factory] to depict the story, Motamen said the film’s screenplay writer chose this class of the society, setting and environment, to narrate the story through.

He acknowledged that due to its psychological dimensions, the flick’s story could have happened to people from any class of the society.

However, the film’s director added, ‘The screenplay was very appealing to me particularly because it takes place in relation to the working class which has, in a way, been left out from the Iranian movies.

‘At present, there are quite few movies showing industrial plants and episodes from the lives of workers. This encouraged me to make a movie pertaining to this class. Nevertheless, the story could have been better narrated by depicting people from the middle or upper class. Though it was way more difficult to relate the story to this stratum I took the risk. The more primitive the film’s environment and setting is, the more difficult it gets to produce it in a way to have the desired impact on the audience.’

Motamen opines the working class has a limited range of words tor express themselves making it difficult for them to verbally convey their [romantic] feelings.

He added unlike one of his older flicks such as ‘Bright Nights’ in which the characters could easily and expressively communicate with each other and recite poems from Iranian classic poets, Sa’di and Roudaki, to express their love towards one another, in this movie the main characters remain silent for a long time on their first date, because they do not have a great deal of words to express their feelings.

Asked about why his movie is contending in the fest’s international section Motamen noted, ‘This was not my decision. The festival’s officials decided on the film’s participation in the international section of the event.’

At the press conference, he commented on the movie’s general ambience and its impact on foreign audience, noting it is not possible to predict the foreign audience’s reaction and feedback before they see the flick. The movie has not been screened in international festivals yet, he pointed out.

‘This was the first participation of the film in a festival. However, it is expected to take part in a number of foreign fests in the near future. Nevertheless, my flicks are not very suitable for international events because when I make a film, I do not think much about either the Iranian or foreign audience and their reactions. I make my movies in total harmony with the screenplay. As a director, my prime responsibility is to first form a clear mental picture of the story and then present well-trimmed, lucid and comprehensible images of that visualization on the screen. I do my best to visualize the screenplay in the most suitable and precise manner. Nevertheless, I know that ‘Farewell’ might not be appreciated very much by sophisticated and elite audience and at the same time the general public might also not favor it a lot. This is something in the middle. It can attract both types though. The general public will like the flick’s general emotion and romantic atmosphere, whereas elite and professional audience might express interest in its Mise-en-scène, the references it makes to Western movies or the theme music.’

He stressed that he does not sacrifice anything for the sake of pleasing the audience in the process of producing movies.

‘I have never emphasized poverty and misery in any of my films. But when shooting a story pertaining to the working class, who live near the railroad, it would be a distortion of truth not to show their poverty. However, even in this story, we see that despite their poor economic conditions, Mahrou, the film’s leading female character, has decorated her house tastefully and the characters have their meal at the table because I know that even in Iranian villages people have furniture at home. I do not want to present a dark and miserable image of my countrymen.’

Motamen said the movie has a non-linear progression in which the beginning of the movie, in fact, depicts the middle of the story.

The scenes featuring the character of Mahrou, are a mixture of illusions and flashbacks, he added.

‘The story’s linear progression begins with the arrival of the other female character, Tal’at, at the factory. Therefore, the film has two directions: one which begins with Tal’at’s entry, which coincides with the return of the main male character, Yahya, to normal life and the other which depicts the illusions and flashbacks in which Mahrou’s character begins to gradually fade away until it is completely gone. Choosing a surreal atmosphere for the movie would have ruined the element of surprise [where the audience realizes that Mahrou has died a long time ago]. I intentionally did my best to pass scenes depicting Yayha’s illusions about Mahrou as real, which was very difficult.’

In this movie, practically Mahrou could not do anything for example eat fried eggs. ‘Furthermore, no one could see her because she was just Yahya’s illusion.’

Born in Masjed Soleyman in 1957, Motamen has directed movies such as ‘Dark and Light’, ‘Poopak and Mash-Mashallah’, ‘Vigilance’, ‘Voices’, ‘Music Box’ and ‘Seven Scenes’.