Stefan Förner: A Good Film Makes Us Inquisitive
27 April 2017 - 17:30
Stefan Förner was born in 1965 in Bamberg, Germany. He studied Catholic Theology in Bamberg and Paris. He has served as member of jury in international film festivals such as Cannes, Cottbus, Berlinale, etc. Following, he tells us more about his workshop and opinion about a good film.
Tell us about your workshop.
I held a workshop in cooperation with others from Edinburgh, Paris and Italy at the IRIB University and we had workshop with students from IRIB and students from Hong Kong about religion in cinema.
How was it and how long are you holding these workshops?
I liked it very much. I was invited because last year I was a member of jury at the Interfaith section. And there is quite a long tradition in the Catholic Church and in the Protestant Church. And in different film festivals there are Christian juries who are not film critics but have a special view on films. They are looking for human situations presented in these films. That’s what we do in workshop; it started from World War II and in Fajr we started to have interfaith juries for Muslims and Christians since 2002.
What was the title of your workshop?
It was Cinema and Religion. I also discussed religion in Cannes as member of the Ecumenical jury, not this year but ten years ago. We try to find a film that shows something that we like; that we can find something which moved us in our faith and in our religious convictions.
What needs to be done to improve the religious aspects of cinema?
I think Iranian cinema is very good and there is nothing to do better. We discussed this at my worship controversially. One of my colleagues from Paris once said there is a religious aspect for her in every films of Abbas Kiarostami. His films are not about Islam or praying, there is no religious leader in the film, but he sees everybody as a unique person who tries to contact the transcendence; to reach out to the something higher; not precisely in a very Muslim or Christian way but in a very fundamental human way. They (characters of film) try to look up, I mean not to the sky but to heaven.
And it’s not the matter of Kiarostami in this case that whether he’s a faithful person or not. Once he has made his film, it’s up to you to decide what you find in it for yourself, for your life, for your religion and for your conviction. And everybody sees the film in a different way. What I said this morning at the workshop about the best films, actually they are asking questions and encourage you to find your own answers.
What do you expect from a good movie?
Films should not give you commendations but make you think about it. To think about what is right and what is wrong; to show how you can make a decision about what the truth is. I personally don’t like films that explain the world. I prefer films that somehow show all aspects of life.
A good film makes you wonder and then you start questioning everything. Can you really understand why a person acts like this and not like that? How would you have done it in the same situation?
Presided over by Reza Mirkarimi, the 35th edition of Fajr International Film Festival is coming to a close on Friday, 28 April. Winners of this year’s competition are set to be announced on Thursday, 27 April.