Paul Schrader, the special guest of the 37th Fajr International Film Festival, held a Screenwriting Master Class for the public as his last event at the festival. In this event, the American screenwriter and filmmaker answering questions from Iranian students and fans.
Some important parts follow:
On Falling in Love with Cinema
I remember the movies that I was watching when I first fall in love with the cinema, and they were Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Michelangelo Antonioni, François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard.
Why I Did Choose Cinema
After my work as a film critic, I reached the point where non-fiction was not sufficient to address my emotional and psychological needs, and I started writing fictions. The person who crossed me over was the character of Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle.
On Making a Spiritual Film
I had decided that I would never make a spiritual film because it’s not for me. I wrote about those films and I like them but I got to pull into the visceral side of cinema that includes action, empathy, and violence; and you know those haven’t any place in Transcendental Style. That was fine with me.Then something happens three years ago, I realize that it is the time for writing the script I promise me never to write. After that things happen very quickly. I just start to rewatching all the films I like of that sort. So I take the main character from Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, take the setting from Bergman’s Winter Light, take the ending from Dreyer’s Ordet and another scene from Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice.
Getting Away From Stereotype
Without being an expert on Afghan cinema, I can tell you what an Afghani film looks like because I have this prejudices that we all have, you know; one about the hardscrabble family or a film about the Mujahideen and so on, but what you just have to do is try and stay away from those because the environment is so interesting and rich if you can just find a new angle. I think the problem with a lot of the regional cinema is that the filmmakers just don’t think outside of their own perimeters that much. At the moment, I’m reading some crime stories that are set here at Tehran. Among them I’m reading some wonderful little plot devices that I think they are really interesting, and if that story had happened in Los Angeles or Berlin, it wouldn’t be this interesting. That is what you always looking for.
The curtain fell on the 37th Fajr International Film Festival onThursday, April 25. Vahdat Hall played host to the closing ceremony, which wasattended by Iranian and international filmmakers and guests.