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Iranian filmmakers are not passive. They fight whenever they can, as creative expression means a lot to them. The restrictions and censorship in Iran are a bit like the British weather: one day it's sunny, the next day it's raining. You just have to hope you walk out into the sunshine.
Classical tragedy was the war between good and evil. We wanted evil to be defeated and good to be victorious. But the battle in modern tragedy is between good and good. And no matter which side wins, we'll still be heartbroken.
We have the wrong impression of life. We think the very big incidents of our lives are consequences of huge dilemmas or major decisions. If we paid attention, we'd realize that the determining incidents in our lives are ordinary things.
It's very difficult to talk about religion in Iran because religion has gotten so mixed up with politics.
For the Americans, it is not attractive to hear what the similarities are between them and the Iranian people. It is attractive to hear how different the Iranians are.
I feel that it means a lot to the people of Iran that my film is represented at the Oscars, and it makes me happy to bring them that joy, that I'm representing them and that I'm able to give them that element of pleasure to be the envoy from Iran. It's a very pleasant thing.
I always feel that a viewer has an expectation about every moment of the film and where it's going, so if I act against that, I've created a twist. In fact, it becomes a kind of game with the expectations of the viewer. This is the superficial appearance. In the layer beneath, there is a hidden theme.
It's not some big event that creates the drama, it's the little things of everyday life that bring about that drama.
I prefer to stay in my country. But this doesn't mean if someone does want to leave Iran, I think they've done something wrong - the desire to leave is completely understandable.
Is there one specific source that determines correct morality and everybody should follow that? Or should individuals come up with following that source or not depending on their situation?
The process of writing is like creating a game of dominoes: The first domino creates the second incident, and so forth until the end.
I pay lots of homages. I wanted to pay tribute to a leading Iranian writer, Gholam - Hossein Sa'edi, who is buried in Paris - he is an Iranian Arthur Miller. He is of a similar stature, and his work is similar to that of Arthur Miller.
Often times, music is used to evoke an emotion and it's become a cliche, so I don't want to do that, and actually what I do, is that emotional intensity that has developed throughout the film, I allow it to get released by having that music at the end with the credits.
It's been interesting to see how similar audiences in the East and West are, actually, and how it makes you realize that when politicians emphasize the differences between our cultures, it's usually because it benefits them more so than us.
I think it's insulting to an audience to make them sit and watch a film and then give them a message in one sentence.
If you give an answer to your viewer, your film will simply finish in the movie theatre. But when you pose questions, your film actually begins after people watch it. In fact, your film will continue inside the viewer.
It's the governments that create the problems. People are fun; people get along. People in Iran really love Americans. There is no problem between us.
I like storytelling movies and more than that I like historical movies; and I think someday I'll definitely make a movie about the past 50 years history.
I feel it's important to talk about the complex issues affecting us.
Each person makes their own choice, but my spirit is meant to stay in Iran, especially with the work that I do, and with the emotional connection I have with the country - with all its difficulties, this is why I stay.
There is no privilege in restriction. In other words, I disagree with people who say restriction makes you more creative. I think that's a misleading slogan. I might have been more creative without them than with them.
I would have had the same narrative, regardless of the atmosphere and the restrictions.
The bigger confrontation is the one an individual has with itself.
When we talk about self-confrontations, we are speaking about moral issues rather than social issues.
I tend to jot down moments, lines, interactions that don't really make any sense. I try and explain these scattered notes to my close friends, and they become more and more logical. I see screenwriting as a bit like a math equation which I have to solve.
When I decide to write a story, I don't think too much about what I want it to be, I just let things come naturally and this is how it turns out. It's just how my subconscious works.
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