Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lezione di Cinema: Interviewing Ebrahim Golestan

Friends, colleagues, and fellow cinephiles from all around the world gathered in Bologna. The reason was Il Cinema Ritrovato, the 30th edition. I was there to witness Gian Luca Farinelli blowing the candles, celebrating three decades of cinephilia of the highest caliber, but also to show films by the godfather of Iranian modern cinema, Ebrahim Golestan.

Sala Scorsese, the cinema in which the Golestan Film Studio retrospective was held was packed for every single screening, with those who couldn't get a seat, standing on the aisles or sitting patiently on the floor. I was overwhelmed. Probably the 95 year old Golestan, too, even if he is a master in concealing his emotions when it comes to his films.

Brick and Mirror being screened at Sala Scorsese, June 27, 2016

A day after the screening of Brick and Mirror (see picture above), on June 28, 2016, Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and I talked to Golestan for nearly an hour. The festival taped the conversation and you can view it on Youtube. (See below) As you'd see, it's no easy task interviewing Golestan.

 Ebrahim Golestan and Il Cinema Ritrovato director Gian Luca Farinelli being interviewed by Italian public radio/TV RAI. Live broadcast from Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini in Bologna, June 27, 2016.
In the meantime, if Italian is one of the languages you read, check out the two articles published by Il Manifesto, discussing Golestan Film Studio retrospective with more emphasis of The House Is Black and Forough Farrokhzad. They can be accessed here and here.

Andrey Arnold has covered the films in German. Even the clumsy translation of Google Translator manages to deliver some of the nuances rightly captured and eloquently expressed by Arnold:

"Golestan plunges into a mounting of forgotten children in their cribs, their awkward movements and shapeless sounds, bobbing heads and snapping hands, a corrupt image-poem between grotesque and horror, symbolism and sensuality, which eventually leads to a massive camera return, in their inertia, the deepest grief disclosed."

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