Cüneyt Cebenoyan is a film critic from Turkey and one of the members of International Federation of Film Critics. He is also a film critic for the nationwide daily Birgun. He is attending the 37th edition of FIFF as a jury member of the International Critics Award. A short interview follows.
What is your take on this year’s Festival?
It’s my first time in Tehran and in Iran and Fajr. Every year I wanted to come, but it didn’t happen. There are many films from different countries, especially from Asia and Islamic countries. The films I don’t see in other festivals. I think this is a specialty about Fajr. I don’t see these films in other festivals even in Istanbul’s festival. Here I can see films from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other central Asian countries. This is the plus point for Fajr.
Is this because of your interest in Asian movies?
Not really. But I saw a film from Uzbekistan in this Festival. The other one was thematically or visually interesting because it showed the customs and tribal life in Kazakhstan. They weren’t cinematically strong films but they showed the lifestyles that I didn’t know much about. I will watch them again to learn more.
What about Iranian films?
I like Iranian cinema. It’s really strong. It has many audiences all over the world. Beside this, whenever I watch an Iranian film, I find it meets the world cinemas standards. This cinema is full of talent. I like the films of Farhadi and Kiarostami. There are many other good directors in Iran. There is a deep understanding of human nature in their films. That’s why I enjoy watching them. Acting and storytelling are also standard. They are involving.
Do you find any similarity between Iranian and Turkish films?
Turks and Iranians are almost similar. So our films have some similarities. I don’t feel like a foreigner here. I feel like an Iranian. I can easily and immediately connect everybody I talk to. Just I don’t know the language. There aren’t any fundamental differences between our cultures. We also have many Persian words in Turkish language.
When you want to choose a film which factors do you intend?
I actually like any character-based film. I like the films which the main character has some psychological depths. The character should act very well. This is the main factor. I like dramas and well-written characters. Many things may attract my attention but characters are important.
Presided over by award-winning writer and director Seyyed Reza Mirkarimi, the 37th Fajr International Film Festival is underway in Tehran until April 26. For further information, please visit our website at www.fajriff.com.