‘Castle of Dreams’ grabbed three awards at the 2019 edition of the festival in China in June. The Best Actor Award of the event went to the movie’s star Hamed Behdad, and the director Reza Mirkarimi won the Best Director and the Golden Goblet prize for the film.
The drama is about two young children whose mother has just died, and their father, Jalal, after long years of absence, returns to sort things out, but he does not want to take the children with him.
In his interview with Global Times of China about the two cinema of the two countries, Mirkarimi said “Iran can learn from China in terms of sci-fi movies, ancient movies and action movies. These genres are not mainstream in Iran. We don't have enough capacity to achieve what we want and we need to.”
Meanwhile, Iranian films such as ‘Children of Heaven’, ‘A Taste of Cherry’ from the 1990s, and the more recently released ‘The Salesman’ and ‘A Separation’, have made deep impressions on Chinese audiences. Mirkarimi pointed out that Iran specializes in films like these, with realistic themes and stories about human relations and human emotions, and it is this aspect that the director said he feels Iran can probably help China. He noted that more Chinese directors are trying to focus on human relations in films, globaltimes.cn wrote.
“In ancient times, we were connected to each other in terms of the economy and culture through the Silk Road. But unfortunately over the past few hundred years, we haven't had as many cultural connections as we had in the past. Much of the connections happen through Europe,” said Mirkarimi.
Although he was very familiar with the works of Chinese directors such as Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou, the first time he met them was at European film festivals such as Cannes and the Venice International Film Festival.
“China and Iran are both in the East of the world. We have these common Eastern feelings… There are many Chinese film experts that I'd like to work with, as I’ve seen their work on the screens at international film festivals,” said Mirkarimi.
He stressed that opportunities for direct exchanges about films is continuously improving thanks to efforts on both sides.
While Mirkarimi has received many invitations from film festivals for collaboration with Chinese film professionals, he is currently considering shooting a family drama set in a small city in China and making an animated TV series for children, possibly about the Silk Road and cultural exchange with China.
"I have been the director of the Fajr International Film Festival for the last four years. Chinese cinematic people have been invited to the festival," said Mirkarimi.
Some of the Chinese films won awards at different sections at this prominent annual film festival, held every April in Tehran, Iran.
In terms of international development for Chinese films, while Mirkarimi acknowledged his great appreciation for them, he also said he believes that there’s still room for growth.
“They are not as successful as their capacity allows them to be,” he said.
He recommended that filmmakers shift focus onto the lives of ordinary people instead of looking at things from a grand perspective, as well as shoot more films with realistic themes rather than blockbusters.
“For finding a good story, you really do not need to put yourself under a lot of pressure to travel to far places, to look for big events or anything. If you look at the people around you, what is happening around you, you can find a very good story. That happens, if you believe that nothing repetitive exists. Whatever happens, it will be something new,” he said.