Saturday, 18 July 2015
30 October 2020
Viennale Flash News, A chat with „Rafi Pitts

«Hunter of a voice that lasts forever»

2010 October 26

Ardavan Taheri / Radio Koocheh

a.taheri@koochehmail.com

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far/Radio Koocheh

avideh@avideh.net

It was Sunday and “Vienna” was reaching the end of a long weekend, but the Executive Staff and News Headquarters of “Viennale”, were involved in work and activities exactly like a busy week day. The 2010 Viennale News headquarters is located on the eighth floor of Vienna Hilton Hotel (Hilton Vienna) and journalists seem to work day and night in their hotel rooms. I had the opportunity to have a quick chat just before he leaves Vienna with the Iranian filmmaker “Rafi Pitts” because of an effective collaboration of “Fredi Themel”, one of the “Viennale” headquaters staff. Pitt’s movie, “Shekarch” (The Hunter) was screened last Friday and Saturday in Urania cinema and Gartenbaukino.

I do not say that the world has lined up to watch Our Cinema. But I think that the world would like  to see our movies

“Rafi Pitts”, was invited for the first time to Vienna Film Festival with the film “Fasl- e Pandjom (Chapter V) in 1998 and now that his fifth “Viennale” is behind him, he is in a room on the eighth floor, in front of me talking about Iranian cinema in the world:

“Iranian cinema’s luck -especially the art cinema – is that it can take risks. Why? Because it is attractive for the world. So I say, when you have such an opportunity and in cinema, from an artistic perspective it is rare to risk, why not use it? When you get passed the artistic perspective and start to make customized movies, it means either you make movies for the economic reasons or for the views that can exist. That is a pity! Because this way, you miss something if you just want to please some people.”

Rafi Pitts with Hans Hurch in the Gartenbaukino (photo: © Viennale/Ruth Ehrmann)

The Director of “Sanam” and “Zemestan ast” (It’s Winter), whose mother is the famous costume designer “Malak Jahan Khazaii” finds the cinema of “Argentina” and “Poland” very appealing because these two countries filmmakers put themselves “in danger of art”, or “at risk” that people might not welcome their work. In the same context, he describes the Iranian Cinema:

“I do not say that the world has lined up to watch Our Cinema. But I think that the world would like to see our movies. Because this is about love and love of the cinema, it comes from when our cinema was not even considered as such yet, but when our cinema still took risks.”

Serious artistic cinema, everywhere, has always been victim of economic problems, political limitations and censorship. “Rafi Pitts” director of “Shekarchi” (Hunter) present at the forty-eighth “Viennale” also believes that these problems are not specific to Iranian cinema and appraising the effects of censorship and economic pressures on “Author Cinema” he say:

“Best films have always been made when it has been economically difficult to make films. I mean when the directors did not have all the money and facilities that they would have liked to have and interesting enough, it has been when they could not say what they wanted to say freely. Perhaps because directors are forced to find other ways to say what they want, so they become more creative. This refers more to our cinema. I do not like censor but admit that Iranian cinema has always lived with censorship- before the revolution or after the revolution, we have never made any film without censorship, so our film language has somehow grown with it. I always have this feeling that a director has been strongly creative under pressure.”

Rafi Pitts (photo: © Viennale/Ruth Ehrmann)

The Movie “Shekarchi” (Hunter), inspired by the story “Gileh Mard”, of “Bozorg Alavi” – unlike lot of media comments outside of Iran – has nothing to do with the presidential elections and Green Movement, but it has been shot during the days before the elections and its sounding has been done  during the upsurge of the Iranian people to the election results. So it is natural that the director, as a part of the affected community in critical conditions, reflects a part of the history in his film. Even if it is only few voices in the background; voice of the lectures of the Leader heard on the radio, or voice of streets protests against election results. The Director and actor of “Shekarchi”, here in Vienna where “Viennale” is held says:

“The fact that in Iran, they gave us the so called ”right” to vote and that the green party can be present and there is 4 candidates and we could vote for Mr. “Moussavi” and then they took this right to choose from us was degrading. If people had this choice, they should have had it till the end. Now, I am a filmmaker and I am making a movie about human pain and having no political faction; we have started shooting and we finished it. So when all these happened, I was not feeling comfortable as a filmmaker. Because what happened and what I have done, is somehow the reflection of how I think.

My mind is always with people who have something to live for. I think that the taxi driver in Tehran, he just wants to see his wife and children by the end of the day. When I was writing this story I was only thinking, what if it ever happens something to the family of this taxi driver? So he does not have anything to live for anymore so he explodes! Our society, I am not talking about rich people of the north of Tehran, the majority of the population, because of the economic situation, is in this state.”

“Rafi Pitts” explains his feelings and reasons about the reflection of the events of the presidential election aftermath in his film “Shekarchi”:

When you are in Berlin editing your film, and you see many young people being killed because of the elections, you can not continue indifferently

“When you are in Berlin editing your film, and you see many young people being killed because of the elections, you can not continue indifferently. A few young people, go there courageously with their mobile phones and start to get pictures of these events. So you do ask yourself two questions. Do I, as an artist, want to work in my country and to do so I should be conservative and just go for it the same way that I wrote it all, or should I need to respect those who lost their lives there, or put themselves in danger trying to record the history of their country. And I thought, if I do not respect those who have recorded this documents there, then I have done nothing. So I did something that will be recorded for sure in the history of my country, no matter what .”

We had sure a lot to discuss but “Rafi Pitts” had to leave. We did not have the opportunity to talk about why he did not use a composer in his movie “Shekarchi”. He left Vienna for Argentina and then Tokyo. He left to be, to quote himself, with his newborn baby, his last film, “Sheharchi”.

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