Art And Culture

Foreign Guests Hail Iran Cinema

Foreign Guests Hail Iran Cinema Foreign Guests Hail Iran Cinema

Among the foreign guests of the international section at the 33rd Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF), jury members Maxine Williamson from Australia and Italian actor Fabio Testi as well as Barbara Lorey, the representative of FIPRESCI, in separate interviews spoke about their experiences in Iran and the festival.

This is Williamson’s first as an FIFF jury member; however, she has earlier attended the Iran Film Market (IFM) which she “found quite exciting and motivating,” according to the Public Relations Office of the festival.

“Due to the fact that there are great Iranian film teachers such as Abbas Kiarostami, Asghar Farhadi and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad mentoring students from all around the world, Iran’s film industry is in the way it should be and will not need any changes as it is in capable hands,” she said.

Williamson believes that anyone with a taste for motion pictures will appreciate the movies from Iran. “You need not be an academic or incredibly sophisticated person to be deeply moved by the humanistic storytelling which comes out of Iranian films,” she noted.

She said she loves Iranian people as they are some of the kindest she has ever met.

Born in 1964, Williamson holds a bachelor’s degree in film and television production. She established the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) competition and brand in 2007. She is also the director of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival.

  Full of Emotion

Fabio Testi, another jury member, has come to Iran for the first time. “I know this is one of the best and most wonderful festivals in the region so I am really curious to see what is going on here,” he said.

Stating that he is familiar with Iranian cinema, he added: “I have seen some Iranian movies and know about young Iranian filmmakers. That’s the reason I am here because I like this kind of cinema and new Iranian directors.”

Referring to the numerous co-productions he has acted in, he said, “I think the future is bright for Iranian cinema, and I hope we can produce joint films with Iran.”

He believes that cinema is a complete art. “You combine spiritual issues with technical matters. You put them together and try to produce emotions. It is important for me to see the emotions and I see that in Iranian films.”

Testi’s most famous film is ‘The Garden of the Finzi-Continis’, Vittorio de Sica’s penultimate film. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It also won the Golden Bear at the 21st Berlin International Film Festival in 1971.


Barbara Lorey, representative of FIPRESCI association, spoke about her expectations as a film critic in Iran.

The French guest of the festival who visited Iran as a tourist said she is in charge of promoting FIPRESCI-awarded films.”

FIPRESCI (acronym for The International Federation of Film Critics in French) is an association of national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world for the promotion and development of film culture and for the safeguarding of professional interests. Founded in Belgium, it has members in more than 50 countries worldwide.

As a member of the jury in numerous international film festivals, she said: “Since there are many Iranian films in international film festivals I have seen several of them. I know Niki Karimi, Asghar Farhadi, and Kiarostami’s works in particular.”

In her opinion, Iran has a fabulous cultural history and is a significant country in the region so “it is also important to see how cinema is working here.”

She considered the 33rd Fajr as a showcase of Iranian cinema for foreign guests and an important showcase of foreign films for the Iranian audience as well.

The 33rd Fajr will conclude May 2.