Art And Culture

Philosophical Fantasies of a Fictionist

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Philosophical Fantasies of  a FictionistPhilosophical Fantasies of  a Fictionist

For his debut film as a director, Shahab Hosseini has taken on a somehow unusual script with a philosophical theme.

One of the best actors in today’s cinema, Hosseini selected a script written by Mohammad-Hadi Karimi. The two have previously worked in the movie ‘Snow on A Hot Tin Roof’, where Karimi was director and scriptwriter, and Hosseini played a part.

Now, in his first directing experience, Hosseini has not only directed the film, but also performed a dazzling array of 38 different characters in ‘Resident of the Middle Floor’. Scriptwriter Karimi also appears, albeit as a psychoanalyst.

The movie tells the story of a desperate scriptwriter whose screenplays do not get the approval of his producer “for being bitter and not earthly.” In urgent need of money to pay for the apartment he has just rented, he indulges in thoughts of what sort of themes he can write about.

 Different Roles

Hosseini plays the main role of the writer, as well as all the famous eastern and western characters he imagines, from ancient philosophers like Suhrawardi and Socrates to modern singers such as the late Farhad, Curt Cobain, and Roger Waters. We also see him as Zechariah, Christ, Rumi, Isaac Newton, Che Guevara, etc.

The skillful makeup he wears to represent the well-known figures together with his fine body and facial gestures make the viewers believe him in all the characters, though lasting only a few seconds each.

The story centers upon the bewilderment, perplexity and wonder of the modern human who, in search of heavenly truth, wander on earth, at times lost in the mundane world and sometimes getting close to the source.

To make a complicated issue appealing for the ordinary audience, the movie has been interspersed with traces of humor. The outcome of such a bizarre combination may not thoroughly be accepted by the public; it may mostly please the intellectual class.

 ‘Oxygen’, a Launching Pad

Seyed Shahabuddin Hosseini was born in 1974 in Tehran. Having participated in a number of student theaters in university, he officially started his artistic activities by hosting a radio show. Then he moved on to hosting the TV show ‘Oxygen’ which was welcomed by the people, especially the youth, as it was one of the first attempts made by the broadcasting officials at the time to make a program for and about the young generation. 

Following that, he appeared in some more TV shows as a host and played in a few series; ‘After the Rain’ was his first television experience. He has since appeared in 8 more series.  His cinematic debut was in ‘Rokhsareh’ (2001). His acting career took off the next year with movies like ‘The Woman Does Not Speak’ and ‘A Candle in the Wind’.

 Above Average

Although he has always stood above average in acting, his performance in ‘The Fifth Reaction’, ‘Mahya’, and ‘Painting Pool’ are among the finest in his professional career.

In 2009, his outstanding performance in ‘Superstar’ won him the Fajr International Film Festival Crystal Simorgh. In 2011, he was a nominee for the Iran Cinema Celebration Golden Statue for his roles in ‘About Elly’ and ‘Wandering in the Mist’. At the same time, he won the prestigious Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for his memorable role in ‘A Separation’. This role also earned him a nomination for the Chlotrudis Award at the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film.

During his 13 years of acting he appeared in 40 feature films. This spring he was on the screens with ‘Five Stars’, which has been one of the bestsellers.

Hosseini is also a singer in a band ‘Seven’, which he has formed with his friends. The band has released four albums till now. In the first two albums, Hosseini has just declaimed; in the other two he has sung.