Barbara Lorey is a Paris-based freelance journalist and film-critic for German and French daily newspapers and periodicals. She is also representative of FIPRESCI association who was international guest of the previous edition of FIFF.
According to the public relations office of the 34th FIFF, Barbara Lorey in an interview described the progresses and improvements in the festival from the nest edition to the present one.
You were here last, when national and international sections were separated for the first time, can you make a comparison between this edition and the last one?
It was an excellent choice to put everything together, the films are screened at the someplace, the market is in the same place and meetings also are here. So that’s really an improvement you know it makes organization so easier and the market I think can still develop further. Actually I believe that there should be a balance between the number of buyers and distributors.But it is the beginning and I hope the festival keeps that like that.
How did you find the level of the films?
The international competition section was pretty good. Very good and better than last year, there were some excellent films in international program. I have not seen all the Iranian films in other programs but in international programs there were very good choices. For example I liked “My Mother” and “Dawn” and Alexander Sokurov had also a film here and it was incredible that he came and he also had a master class and it was a very good thing. There were very many other films and you have kind a lot of international films that had their international seen before. Unfortunately I couldn’t seeall the other films in other programs. I think this not is that easy to make an international big program regarding some restrictions. So I want to know if these films are screened to the public or not. Because I feel this is restricted just for specific people. The other positive point here was that this edition was really well-organized. This year no one I think is worry about anything. The other positive thing is the number of international guests. I mean filmmakers, festival programmers. And if thing go like this the festival is going into the right way. I just do hope that this time many things has changed and I think Reza is a very perfect director and he is wonderful and very warm and I hope things just go on like this.
Last year there were some meetings and discussions about membership of Iran in FIPRESCI
The thing is that we discussed about it, I expressed in to the board and we discussed the story, but the problem was that it is very difficult to establish official FIPRESCI contact with the Iranian media because we do not see the constituency of the real film critic association and it is the point. I feel we cannot really identify reporters from critics or press agents. In our association we just accept those who are not implicated to other jobs like publicity. So to us a bit unclear but we encourage individual membership. Critics can fill the forms and send proofs. Individual membership is possible for countries that have no national official film critics association. So interested individuals can send proofs and also their writings to us, but it is absolutely necessary that the applicant be fluent in English. Application process sometimes takes a long time but it works.
How did you find the level of Iranian films?
It is really a mixed bag. There were some films that I didn’t like and I think it is sometimes because of the content am not saying that we foreigners appreciate films that only show resistance and all its about film and cinema itself, there can be a very traditional film meanwhile it can be a very good film. so what I have seen so far, is a mixed bag. I saw some films that were purely commercial I am not against commercial cinema of course I like it when it is well made. But I also saw a couple of films that were really interesting. The Breath was great film. And other film was Reza’s film Daughter was marvelous. I like to talk about it and think about it. I had a strange ending. It was absolutely magnificent.
As you may know Farhadi’s latest film The Salesman was selected for competition section of Cannes, what is your opinion about this,
My first reaction was that, it is normal. Because it is French film and Cannes is about French cinema. And you Unifrench has produced film. It is great and I am really curious to see this film. I don’t know much about this film and I am really interested to see this film, because when you making a film out of your country sometimes things go a bit complicated.
The 34th edition of Fajr International Film Festival is being held from April 20th to April 25th, 2016 in Charsou Cineplex, under the supervision of the well-known Iranian filmmaker, Mr. Reza Mirkarimi, who is also the Managing Director of Khaneh Cinema.
For more information on Fajr International Film Festival, visit the festival website, www.fajriff.com.