Art And Culture

Environmental Movie ‘Mermaid’ in Cinemas Soon

The film includes 70 locations, including underwater scenes where shooting took place for 11 days
Amir Aqaee playing Younes in MermaidAmir Aqaee playing Younes in Mermaid

Mermaid, an environmental feature film on the Persian Gulf will have its public screening four years after the idea was first conceived.

“For a long time I’ve been defending my first feature film against censorship. It expounds environmental issues of the Persian Gulf,” said film director Amir Masoud Aqababaian, who has a long and prolific background in the profession.

In the movie, he has drawn attention to the region’s environmental pollution. “This needs to be addressed,” Aqababaian told ISNA.

The agreement for screening the film has been signed and its public viewing is expected in one month.

“We are all responsible to preserve this maritime region and in particular tackle the problem of oil pollution,” he stressed.

His script was rejected by the Oil Ministry in the previous government. “Mermaid exposes some aspects of environmental negligence in the Persian Gulf by the littoral states. Luckily, the film permit was granted by the current government,” Aqababaian said.

However, his script was censored in many parts. “I didn’t want to make a film that would end up suspended or banned for good; so I made a lot of revisions. Due to the sensitive subject, I focused on aesthetics and mise-en-scene.”

The screenplay was inspired by an earlier script written by director and producer Mohammad Reza Arab, 50, who has produced the film.

Shooting locations of Mermaid were on Qeshm Island in Hormuzgan Province, and in the cities of Kazeroun and Isfahan. The film includes 70 locations, including underwater locations where shooting took place for 11 days.

Giving excerpts about the plot he said: “Younes, the protagonist of the story is the survivor of a diving team in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war imposed by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.”

The screenplay was greatly influenced by the repatriation of 175 Iranian divers from Iraq. On May 18, 2015, bodies of the Iranian divers who were reportedly buried alive with their hands tied returned to Iran. Some of the bodies were discovered with no injuries, and it was ascertained that they were buried alive with their hands tied. The repatriation led to an unprecedentedly emotional response on Iranian social media.

  Film Plot

As he (actor) lives near the Persian Gulf, he decides to set up a memorial to his friends killed in the incident. Meanwhile, he is faced with water pollution and oil spills due to the activities of oil companies. Eventually he gets involved in a campaign against embezzlement and administrative corruption.

Actor and writer Amir Aqaee, 45, plays Younes, and actress Pantea Mehdinia is in the role of Maryam Khosravi, who fights for her country’s environment and joins the former soldier Younes in his conservation pursuits.

“We live in a country where every corner seems like paradise. However, none of us appreciate this blessing. On the other hand, there are countries sparsely having such attractions. I wish our people cared a little more about their environment,” Mehdinia said.

Aqababaian has made a number of creative documentaries including ‘The Rouge and the Black’, ‘Admirer of Iranian Art’, ‘Destination Iran’ and ‘For Their Hands’.

His drama films are ‘The Chocolate Box’, ‘The Paper Fish’, ‘Beyond the Line’, ‘Under the Dome’, and ‘Maybe Happens to You’.

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