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Niki Karimi: “My Iran that I want to change”

Cinema2006 competition title A Few Days Later… by Niki Karimi screened for the press today, followed by a press conference with the director and the film’s international distributor, Katayoon Shahabi. Centred on  current Iranian society, A Few Days Later… is the story of Shahrzad, a successful designer grappling with important decisions over her future and life.
“There are a lot of women who work and are independent in Iran. I wanted to present a cross-section of today’s society,” began the director. “I could have called this film ‘Distance’, because the main character maintains a certain distance from society. Making decisions and choices in life is never easy. In Iran, tradition and an openness towards modernity coexist, Shahrzad’s problem is precisely that of relating to the world around her. There are many types of loneliness like the one in the film, many women who have no rights or find it hard to hold a series of jobs. Yet, at the same time, there are women doctors, writers and lawyers working to create equal conditions. Iran is a patriarchal country full of contradictions and contrasts. I hope to exert some influence with my films and – why not? – change society”. And on the question or whether women should wear a veil, she offers intelligently: “The real problem isn’t whether or not to wear it, but being able to choose”.
The discussion then turned to the difficult state Iranian cinema finds itself in. “Fifteen minutes of my previous film (One Night) were censured. There’s been a new government for a year and I was very curious. Actually, there were several things cut from the version that will come out in Iran. For example, the music, only because it was composed by Iranian musicians who live in Los Angeles”.
On the same subject, Katayoon Shahabi offered her comments: “Unfortunately, production possibilities for our cinema are decreasing. With the European Union, the market has narrowed, television remains the only partner. Nevertheless, television channels are becoming more commercial, in order to have more advertising. Young generations receive a scant film education, also because auteur films are broadcast on television just once a week and late at night. Cinema is the best way to get to know Iranian culture and clear away the many doubts about us”.
 

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