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Tehran Times - Iran's Leading International Daily

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    TEHRAN – “Shahjahan”, an Iranian documentary about the role of Iranian merchant Parviz Shahjahan during the Constitutional Movement, won two awards from the 16th Iran Cinema Celebration on Tuesday.
     
    The best film award and the best documentary award were presented to its producer and director Hassan Naqashi during the ceremony.
     
    Produced by the Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC), “Shahjahan” chronicles the role of the merchant and how he supplied weapons, ammunition and money to the revolutionaries.
     
    The Iranian Constitutional Movement took place between 1905 and 1911, and led to the establishment of a parliament in Iran.
     
    Winners in the documentary section of the celebration were announced during a ceremony held at the Iranian House of Cinema (IHC) in Tehran.
     
    “AK,Ap,As”, a doc about the pottery of Kalpurgan in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, won the best short documentary and the best short film awards.
     
    Directed by Mohammad-Ali Hashemzehi, the short is produced by DEFC.
     
    The documentary “Memories for All Seasons” by producer Morteza Razzaq Karimi won the best long documentary award, while Mohsen Ostad-Ali received the best documentary award for his “A Place to Live”.
     
    The IHC holds the Iran Cinema Celebration every year in several categories.
     
    Speaking at the ceremony, secretary of the celebration Mohammad Borzorgnia hoped that the documentaries would have the chance to be screened widely in theaters.
     
    IHC Managing Director Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur also made a brief speech and said that he believes cinema must reflect some of the realities existing in society. “If it doesn’t reflect the realities, it is more like television rather than cinema.”
     
    The celebration will reach its climax with the announcement of winners in the feature film section on September 12, which is Iran’s National Cinema Day.
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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  • 09/11/14--04:16: Art news in brief
  • Iranian films line up for Busan festival
    TEHRAN – Six Iranian films will go on screen at the A Window on Asian Cinema section of the 19th Busan International Film Festival, which will be held in South Korea from October 2 to 11.
     
     “Track 143” by Narges Abyar, “A Few Cubic Meters of Love” by Jamshid Mahmudi and “We Have a Guest” by Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpur are among the films that will go on screen at the festival.
     
    Other films are “Sensitive Floor” by Kamal Tabrizi, “Tales” by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and “Sun Station” by Saman Salur.
     
     
    Kitaro to give concerts in Tehran 
    TEHRAN – The renowned Japanese musician Kitaro will give concerts at Tehran’s Grand Hall of the Ministry of Interior from October 15 to 17.
     
    The tickets are available on www.tehranticket.com starting today.
     
    Kitaro is a Japanese recording artist, composer, record producer and arranger, and is regarded as a pioneer of New Age music. He is the winner of a Grammy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

     
    Warsaw festival to screen Iranian films 
    TEHRAN – The Iranian movies “Restitution” directed by Ali Ghaffari and “The Maritime Silk Road” by Mohammad Bozorgnia will go on screen at the 5th Warsaw International Film Festival.
     
    Iranian director Amir Tutunchi’s debut film “Neurasthenia”, featuring a story on the psychological disorder of a 25 year-old young man, will also go on screen at the festival.
     
    The festival will be held from October 10 to 19.
     
     
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     
     

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    TEHRAN -- The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) will be holding a retrospective of Iranian Assyrian painter, art critic and translator Hannibal Alkhas (1930-2010) opening on Saturday.
     
    A selection of paintings by Alkhas will go on display, while veteran painter Aidin Aghdahslu is scheduled to speak at the ceremony, Persian media reported on Wednesday.
     
    The Assyrian member of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Jonathan Betkolia will also deliver a speech at the event.
     
    Screening a documentary about the artist and launching his website are also included in the program. 
     
    Alkhas was born and raised in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah. He moved to the United States and continued his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. 
     
    Alkhas returned to Iran in 1959 and established the Gilgamesh Gallery, the country’s first modern art gallery. 
     
    His work is deeply inspired by the ancient bas-reliefs and stone sculptures of ancient monuments.
     
    Alkhas held numerous domestic and international exhibitions and a number of his paintings are preserved in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.
     
    Alkhas died in September 2010 in the United States at the age of 80. He had illustrated dozens of book covers, and his translation of Hafez’s lyrics into Assyrian was also among his other credits.
     
     
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – The 28th Isfahan International Film Festival for Children and Young Adults announced the short international lineup on Tuesday.
     
    Eleven short films by directors from Finland, Nepal, Mexico and several other countries will compete at the festival, which will be held in the central Iranian city from October 3 to 6.
     
    “Shame and Glasses” by Alessandro Riconda from Italy is among the lineup. The film is about a little boy named Mirko who has to face his worst fear: wearing glasses. 
     
    Indonesian director Chairun Nissa’s “Chocolate Comedy”, a portrait of seven-year-old stand-up comedian Fatih Unru, is another film that will go on screen at the festival.
     
    “Fatima” by Naima Mohamud from Finland, “Jirka and the White Mice” by Karel Janák from Czech, “The Raining Tree” Andra Fembriarto from Indonesia are also among the lineup.
     
    The festival will also screen other short films including “The Sound of Rain” by Kim Jin-hee from South Korea, “Sounds of Nature” by Simon Weber from Switzerland and “Lucy vs. The Limits of Voice” by Mónica Herrera from Mexico.
     
    The festival will host a program entitled “The Bosoms of Hopes” during this edition.
     
    The program includes animation and puppetry making workshops for children. 
     
    The festival will also screen seven short films and a feature produced in the Islamic countries in a section entitled “Review of Films from Islamic Countries”.
     
    “Agri and the Mountain” by Hasan Serin from Turkey, “Baghdad Messi” by Sahim Omar Kalifa from Iraq are among the films.
     
    The festival also is dedicating a section to review the children’s cinema of the Czech Republic.
     
    “Inventor Alva” by Ludek Bárta, “The Cottage on the Hill” by Šárka Váchová and “Inspector Whiskers” directed by Josef Lamka are amongst the movies, which will go on screen during the event.
     
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN -- Tehran’s Book City Institute plans to pay tribute to the Italian Orientalist couple, Gianroberto Scarcia and Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti, on Iran’s National Hafez Day, which will be celebrated on tomorrow in Shiraz.
     
    Gianroberto Scarcia, 81, is most known for his studies on Iran. He translated the Divan of Hafez into Italian in 2005.
     
    He is the author of “The Art and Architecture of Persia”, “Iranian Epic and Turkish Wisdom” and “Persia”.
     
    His wife, Biancamaria, 76, is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Rome.
     
    “The World of Islam”, “Shia in the World” and “Religion and Politics” are among her credits.
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     

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  • 10/10/14--21:49: Art news in brief
  • Tehran to host Mexican film festival 
    TEHRAN – Tehran’s Sadabad Cultural Historical Complex will host a Mexican film festival from October 20 to 22.
     
    “What Do Goats Dream?” directed by Jorge Prior, “Requiem for Eternity” by Alberto Resendiz Gomez and “Magic Words (to Break a Spell)” by Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez and a number of other films will be screened at this festival.
     
    The event is organized by Iran’s Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC) and the Embassy of Mexico.
     
     
    Hosseinieh Ershad displays works by writer Shafiei Kadkani
    TEHRAN – A collection of works by Persian writer Mohammadreza Shafiei Kadkani will be shown in an exhibition at the library of Hosseinieh Ershad, a major mosque and cultural center in Tehran, today.
     
    The exhibition has been organized to celebrate Shafiei Kadkani’s 75th birthday.
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN -- An exhibition of photos and posters exploring 50 years of Iranian puppet shows opened at the Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) on Thursday.
     
    Thirty-five photos and 45 posters are on display at the Zemestan Gallery of the forum, curator Ebrahim Hosseini said during the opening ceremony of the showcase.
     
    The photos and posters were previously showcased separately in two exhibitions at the Golestan Palace Museum and the City Theater Complex during the 15th Tehran International Puppet Theater Festival in September.
     
    The organizers of the festival decided to repeat the exhibition in one joint show. 
     
    “The poster exhibition at the Golestan Palace Museum was not welcomed enthusiastically, but we hope the IAF exhibition receives more attention,” Hosseini stated.
     
    A collection photos by Iranian actor/director Hamid Jebeli was also put on display in an exhibition on the sidelines on the show.
     
    The photos depicts scenes from the behind stage of the popular Iranian TV puppet show, “Grandmother’s Home”, which was directed by Marzieh Borumand in 1988.
     
    Jebeli attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition entitled “In commemoration of the Past”.
     
    The exhibitions run until October 16.
     
     
    MMS/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – The American translator of the Persian literature, Caroline Croskery, says she has enjoyed her job in its real meaning. 
     
    She made the remarks during a session at Iran’s booth at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday.
     
    “Democracy or DemoCrazy” by Mehdi Shojaei, “The Big Clay Jar” by Hushang Moradi Kermani and “Redfish” by Katayun Riahi, which were all translated into English by Croskery, were introduced at the session.
     
    “I encountered stories written in a satirical atmosphere and bearing social roots that the authors were trying to convey to the readers,” Croskery said at Iran’s pavilion at Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday.
     
    Croskery also mentioned that stories are funny, even in their English versions, and that they try to show values.
     
    The session was arranged by Candle and Fog, the London-based Iranian publisher of the books, to promote their English versions at the fair.
     
    Expressing his thanks to Croskery, Shojaei said, “Translations do not always come out well, but the model I chose with Ms. Croskery, was based on her conception of the original text, and then we tried to substitute the spirit of the concept in the translated text.”
     
    “We do not need to be far away from our real selves and forget our culture and civilization in order to offer an international work,” Moradi Kermani next said, adding, “We need to share our culture with the world and to teach them things about Iran.”
     
    “Redfish” author Riahi also made a brief speech saying the book was written thirty years ago. “The book tells the story of the little fish who know that beside the little pond they are living in, there should be a new way to reach the sea.”
     
    The Frankfurt Book Fair will run until October 12.
     
     
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – The Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) held a retrospective of celebrated Iranian composer and conductor Loris Tjeknavorian on Thursday.
     
    A number of musicians, including Hushng Kamkar and Farhad Fakhreddini, and filmmaker Khosrow Sinaii attended the opening ceremony of the event, the IAF announced in press release on Friday.
     
    The IAF in collaboration with Iran’s House of Music arranged the program to familiarize youth with compositions by veterans such as Tjeknavorian, IAF Managing Director Majid Sarsangi said at the ceremony. 
     
    The IAF plans to screen films of Tjeknavorian’s performances every month, he added.
     
    In his short speech, Sinaii expressed his happiness over being an old friend of Tjeknavorian and added, “One cannot easily talk about works by Tjeknavorian, since there are so many. They are like an ocean. Days of research are needed to get to know works by Tjeknavorian.”
     
    “I have been in close contact with artists, sculptors, painters and others for 60 years, and I know who an artist is. An artist is different from an individual who tries to be an artist by force, and the best artist is the one for whom art is like breathing, that is, he cannot breathe without art, and Tjeknavorian is one of them,” Sinaii stated.
     
    Composer Hushang Kamkar called Tjeknavorian a professional conductor who is well aware of his job and said, “He is also a painter, a musician, or perhaps a filmmaker in the future.”
     
    Tjeknavorian said that his words are his music and added, “I am happy you introduced me to myself, it seems that I do not know myself well with all these words [compliments].”
     
    A lifetime achievement award was next handed to Tjeknavorian, and the film of his Rustam and Sohrab Opera was screened for the audience as the closing program of the ceremony.
     
     
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – Germany’s Clemens Hauser Publishing and Italy’s Feltrinelli have purchased the copyrights of two Iranian books at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
     
    Written by Mohammad Toluei, the books are “Seven Domes” and “The Anatomy of Depression”, the Persian service of MNA reported on Saturday.
     
    “The Anatomy of Depression”, a novel depicting the depression of youth in urban life of today, will be translated into Italian and published by Feltrinelli.
     
    Clemens Hauser Publishing has purchased the rights of “Seven Domes”, a book containing seven short stories, and a translation into the German language is due to come out next year.
     
    Several Iranian book agencies have been active at the book fair (which ends today) to discuss and sell the copyrights of Iranian books to international publishers. 
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     
     
     
     

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    TEHRAN -- Iran’s Visual Media Institute released a collection of films produced on the theme of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, known as Sacred Defense in Iran, during a ceremony on Saturday.
     
    The package named “Resistance Cinema” contains five DVDs, three of which carries thirty films produced over the past 30 years, and the other two contain a number of short films about the war, Visual Media Institute Managing Director Hossein Mosafer-Astaneh said during the ceremony.
     
    All the films have Persian, Arabic and English subtitles, he noted.
     
    “A group of cineastes such as filmmakers Jamal Shurjeh and Kamal Tabrizi selected the films for release,” he added.
     
    “The package was due to be released earlier during the 13th Resistance International Film Festival, however the preparation of the films and the process of scanning took longer than we anticipated,” he said.
     
    Mosafer-Astaneh continued that the Farabi Cinema Foundation had been a great help in preparing the package, expressing his thanks to the Art Bureau’s Visual Arts Center as well.
     
    He also mentioned that they have plans to release a package of documentaries produced on Sacred Defense in the future.
     
    Director of the Cinema Organization of Iran Hojjatollah Ayyubi, also attending the conference, stressed that dispersed ideas and efforts need to be reunited to focus on Sacred Defense and help portray the sacrifices made by the Iranian soldiers.
     
    He said that Iran’s cinema is indebted to the cinema of Sacred Defense, and hoped that those who make these types of movies will have the opportunity to experience the beautiful and sacred feelings of those years.
     
    “The world is interested in watching Iranian productions on Sacred Defense. They want to know how Iranians carried out resistance against the enemy and these cultural products will help,” he concluded.
     
    “Gilaneh” directed by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, “The Glass Agency” by Ebrahim Hatamikia, “Kissing the Moon-Like Face” by Homayun Asadian, and “The Night Bus” by Kiumars Purahmad are among the films in the collection.
     
    Also included are Bahram Beizaii’s acclaimed movie “Bashu, the Little Stranger” and “Journey to Chazzabeh”, a film directed by Rasul Mollaqolipur.  
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     
     

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  • 10/12/14--01:29: Art news in brief
  • Book City Institute to review Italian version of Persian poetry collection
     
    TEHRAN -- An Italian version of “Sometimes Veil, Sometimes Mirror” (“A volte velo e a volte specchio”), an anthology of Persian classical poetry, will be reviewed during a session at Tehran’s Book City Institute on Tuesday.
     
    The book, which was translated and edited by Carla de Bellis and Iman Mansub-Basiri, was published by San Marco dei Giustiniani in Genova in March 2014.
     
    Italian Cultural Attaché Carlo Cereti, literary critic Clara Corona and Mansub-Basiri will attend the session.
     
    The book wan unveiled during a ceremony at the Library of Archeology and Art History (Biblioteca di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte) in Rome in June.
     
     
    Tehran museum to spotlight neo-traditionalism in Iranian art
    TEHRAN -- The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art plans to organize an exhibition, which will spotlight neo-traditionalism in contemporary Iranian art.
     
    Works by 84 artists in various media will be showcased at the exhibition, which will be held from October 16, 2014 to January 9, 2015.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN -- The 5th Damonfar Painting Biennial, which is for artists under 25, opened at Tehran’s Mellat Cinema Complex on Friday.
     
    Works by 95 painters have been selected for the biennial, which runs until October 24. 
     
    The biennial is organized by Damonfar, the Iranian representative of France’s Pebeo and Canson, and Germany’s Faber-Castell, three companies that manufacture art materials.
     
    “In addition to their visual beauty, the works make a plain criticism of the human society,” Damonfar Managing Director Seifollah Puya-Rad said at the opening ceremony of the event.
     
    “It seems reasonable for sociologists and officials to visit such exhibitions for analytical purposes,” he added.
     
    “You will certainly be delighted to see the view of the young artists in the works,” he stated.
     
    “I have held out hope that the new generation of Iranian painters will elevate their skills and I’m sure that the developing current of Iranian art is premium and unique in the region,” he added.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – Iranian director Hooman Seyyedi’s “13” and South Korean filmmaker Kim Daehwan’s “End of Winter” have shared the New Currents Award at the 19th Busan Film Festival.
     
    Winners in the New Currents competition section were announced on Friday by a jury, which was headed by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. 
     
    “End of Winter” impressed the jury with its “stylistic consistency, its skillful exploration of family relations, its elegant mastery of cinematic space and its great cast ensemble” Farhadi said a press conference. 
     
    “13”, which is about a 13-year-old boy’s loneliness and rebellious rage at the violence that surrounds him, showed “inventive camerawork” and “dynamism”, Farhadi stated.
     
    The New Currents section of the festival screened 12 movies by directors from 10 countries. The section presents a showcase of young talent who are expected to play leading roles in the Asian film industry.
     
    Iranian director Safi Yazdanian’s “What’s the Time in Your World?” was also competing in the New Currents section of the festival, which was held in South Korea from October 2 to 11.
     
    Choi Woo-shik won the award for the 2014 Actor of the Year for his role in South Korean filmmaker Kim Tae Yong’s “Set Me Free”. Cho Soohyang was named the 2014 Actress of the Year for her role in South Korean director Park Sukyoung’s “Wild Flowers”.
     
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     

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  • 10/13/14--22:51: Art news in brief
  • Tehran festival to screen U.S. and Canadian productions 
     
    TEHRAN – Ten U.S. and Canadian productions will be screened in the international section of the 31st Tehran International Short Film Festival, which opens today.
     
    “Unordinary Journey in an Ordinary Day” by Yoshino Aoki (Canada), “Swallowed Whole” by Heidi Kumao (U.S.), and “Beauty” by Colin Racicot (Canada) are some of the movies that will go on screen during the weeklong event.
     
     
    Foundation for theaters for children and young adults established 
     
    TEHRAN -- The 21st International Theater Festival for Children and Young Adults in Hamedan has announced the establishment of a foundation for theaters for children and young adults.
     
    Theatrical figures Davud Kianian, Mansur Khalaj and Moslem Qasemi are among the members of the establishing board. 
     
    The foundation will concentrate on theatrical productions for children and young adults. The festival will be running until October 15.
     
     
    Tajik expert to discuss position of Hafez in his country 
     
    TEHRAN -- Tajik expert Shahmansour Shahmirza Khajaev will deliver a lecture on the position of Persian poet Hafez in the culture of Tajikistan at the ECO Cultural Institute today.
     
    The session has been arranged to commemorate National Hafez Day (October 12).
     
     
    Two Iranian films to compete in Tajikistan’s Didor fest
    TEHRAN -- The acclaimed Iranian movie “Fish and Cat” by Shahram Mokri and “Iranian Ninja” by Marjan Riahi will be competing in the 6th Didor International Film Festival in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, which runs from October 16 to 20.
     
    In addition, Iranian filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi will attend the festival as a jury member of the festival. 
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – The English version of the bestselling Iranian novel “Da” on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war was unveiled during a ceremony at Tehran’s Art Bureau on Sunday evening.
     
    U.S. scholar Paul Sprachman translated the book under the title of “One Woman’s War: Da (Mother)” and Mazda Publishers released the book in the U.S.
     
    Sprachman, along with the narrator of the book Zahra Sadat Hosseini and several officials and writers attended the unveiling ceremony.
     
    Written by Seyyed Azam Hosseini, “Da” contains recollections by Seyyedeh Zahra Hosseini of the time when the Iraqi army captured Khorramshahr in the early days of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. It is a true-to-life story of a teenager who experienced the early days of the war in Khorramshahr.
     
    The English reader understands the importance of spiritual aspects of Iran-Iraq war through this novel, Sprachman said during the event.
     
    Sprachman has previously translated several other books in the Sacred Defense genre in English.
     
    He expressed his hope that the translation of the book highlights the important role of women in the Iran-Iraq War, which is downplayed in the American media.
     
    He said that he has worked on the book for four years and tried his best to convey the precise meaning of words in English.
     
    Sprachman previously traveled to Iran to visit the narrator of the Persian novel on “Da”. 
     
    At the ceremony, Zahra Sadat Hosseini also made a short speech about the book saying that the translation of the book should convey the message of the people of Iran, who were oppressed during the war, to the world.
     
    The book was published in 2008 by the Sureh-Mehr Publications and soon afterwards became an Iranian best seller.
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     
     

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    TEHRAN -- A war does not end with the return of the soldiers to their homes and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War is no exception. Numerous memoirs, novels and artworks have been created based on this eight-year national common experience, which are categorized under the title of the Sacred Defense, the name of Iran-Iraq war in Iran.
     
    One of these, “Chess with the Doomsday Machine”, was written by Habib Ahmadzadeh in 1996 on the siege of the southwestern Iranian city of Abadan and published by Sureh-Mehr in 2005. The novella became a bestseller at that time in Iran, and in 2007, Mazda Publishers in the U.S. published an English version of the book, which was translated by Paul Sprachman, a celebrated U.S. expert on the Persian language. 
     
    The story is narrated by a young spotter named Musa, who has been assigned to locate the enemy’s “doomsday machine”, an advanced radar system that must be destroyed. He also has to provide certain services to some odd inhabitants of the war-torn city: two Armenian priests, a retired oil refinery engineer, and a woman and her young daughter.  
     
    The Tehran Times recently conducted an interview with Sprachman about the book and the feedback he received from English readers about the genre of Sacred Defense literature.
     
    Q: Is an impartial look at the Iran-Iraq war (from now on: “the War”) on the part of the combatants possible? Did the writer maintain an even stance at the end of the book?
     
    A: Treating the War as many historians treat other wars throughout history (not as a “holy defense,” or a religious or metaphysical struggle as it is viewed in Iran), one has to conclude that the Iranian understanding of the conflict is more consistent with what actually happened than the official Iraqi or Arab nationalist views. Iraq was indeed the aggressor, and Saddam was encouraged and/or aided by leaders of both regional and international states who saw the War as a way of weakening or neutralizing the Islamic Revolution in Iran. When I spoke of the book’s attempt at even-handedness, I was referring to the way Mr. Ahmadzadeh has always been careful not to demonize the Iraqi enemy. During our conversations in Tehran, he often spoke of how as a soldier he tried to see his adversaries as human beings engaged like him in a war they did not start. In the novel and in his short stories (Dastan`ha-ye Shahr-e Jangi, translated into English as “A City under Siege: Tales of the Iran-Iraq War”), we see how caprices of geography and economics determined the destiny of many of the combatants. For example, if a Kurd had been born in Erbil, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, he would be fighting for Iraq against Iran, but if the same Kurd were born in Sanandaj, he’d be defending Iran. Likewise, Mr. Ahmadzadeh draws readers’ attention to the fact that a number of soldiers in Saddam’s army were guest workers in Iraq from places as far away from the conflict as Mauritania (on this point, see my introduction to the collection “A City under Siege: Tales of the Iran-Iraq War” [Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, 2010, pp. xiv-xviii}). Mr. Ahmadzadeh is also very careful to distinguish between the common Iraqi conscript and the hard-core Baathist in the military, a point dramatized in Kiomars Pourahmad’s film “Night Bus” (“Otubus-e Shab”), which is based on Ahmadzadeh’s short story “Thirty-nine Plus One Prisoners”.
     
    At the end of the book, Mr. Ahmadzadeh makes a case for free will in the mouth of Musa’s “good” mentor (morshed) Qasem. He also has Musa tell the priests that the holocaust memorial was not necessary. The young man gains an understanding of history that allows him to see the events of the War from a more mature, reasoned point of view. So, yes, I think Mr. Ahmadzadeh manages to write in a balanced way at the end of the book.
     
    Q: Why were only 1000 copies of the book published? And what has been the “average” reader’s reaction to the book?
     
    A: I have been asked these questions many times. To know the answer to the questions, one has to understand several things. First, Americans (both in the U.S. and Canada), generally, do not read translated fiction. Even some of the best European authors’ books rarely sell more than 3000 copies. Second, the appetite for books that present a neutral or nuanced or even positive view of anything related to Iran is very limited. Iran has replaced the former Soviet Union as the American enemy. The reason why many American students want to learn Persian or “Farsi” is that knowing the language will help them get into the CIA or rise in the military. Third, the audience for this book is not the “average” American reader. People who buy and read Mr. Ahmadzadeh’s books in English are students of Middle Eastern Literatures (assigned the book in class) or specialists in such literatures who don’t have a reading knowledge of Persian, a very tiny proportion of the limited population of readers of translated works in the United States. For a small publisher like Mazda, printing only 1000 copies of the book makes perfect economic sense. One must realize that such books are as unknown or as unpopular in the U.S. as they are in Iran, where, as you know, they are seen as “commissioned” by the governmental and semi-governmental agencies. But unlike Iran, there are no state organs in the U.S. to sponsor the publication or bolster the sales of books related to the War (on this point, see the introduction to the recent English translation of “Da”, Mrs. Zahra Hoseyni’s dictated memoir, called “One Woman’s War”).
     
    Q: Does the Christian or ecumenical or anti-war message of the book resonate with Christian readers?
     
    A: As I said above, the number of people who know about Mr. Ahmadzadeh’s book is very small. I haven’t seen any comments about the book’s ecumenical message. I don’t think any Christian book stores carry the book, so I have no way of knowing how Christians view such messages.
     
    Q: What attracts you as a translator to books about the War?
     
    A: As I have said several times, I did not participate in the Vietnam War; instead my wife and I served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan. Be that as it may, I have always been interested in the literature of war. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Camoes’ Lusiads, Tosltoy’s War and Peace, Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, etc. have been on my re-reading list over the years. I am not saying that Mr. Ahmadzadeh’s writing is comparable to those masterpieces, but it does give a picture of one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century. Mr. [Ahmad] Dehqan’s and Mrs. Hoseyni’s works likewise contain graphic accounts of that War. Though I am familiar with the literature of war in European languages, the literature of war in Persian presents interesting challenges to the reader and the translator. Trying to meet these challenges has been very fascinating to me.
     
    Q: How difficult is it for the Western reader to grasp some of the imagery in the book?
     
    A: It is difficult for the average Western reader to understand the image of the 7-story building without some explanation. This is why I have written about the symbolism of this image in the introduction to the translation. This point raises the larger question of the difficulty of understanding a book that speaks about war in religious and metaphysical terms. To many Western readers this is obscure, having gone out of fashion with the end of the Crusades.
     
    Q: Has the author been evenhanded in his treatment of Musa as opposed to the people left in Abadan?
     
    A: Clearly the sympathies of the author are with Musa. He is the narrator. We see the War through his eyes. Mr. Ahmadzadeh has based the novel in large part on his own experiences as a Basiji [volunteer paramilitary]. He has told me that some of the other characters in the book still live in the city. But I don’t think he was trying to present an impartial version of what had happened. In “Chess with the Doomsday Machine,” he turned the War into a philosophical drama about maturity and self-discovery under very trying circumstances.
     
    Q: What does the issue of determinism and free will have to do with an event like war?
     
    A: For obvious reasons, a great deal of war literature contains philosophical discussions of life and death. Authors often ask the question: Must a soldier kill when his enemy tries to kill him? Mr. Ahmadzadeh’s fiction grapples with questions that all war literature must raise. Answering such questions is another matter. Perhaps the art of combat fiction resides in how the author raises the questions rather than answers. If we had a satisfactory answer to the question of whether we are compelled to do what we do or whether we have a choice in the matter, the art of asking the question would be diminished.
     
    Q: To what extent do you believe in the sacredness of the Iranian defense of the country?
     
    A: As I said above, I look at the War as a historian in the West would, as an event in human history rather than one with religious dimensions. Translating some of the books about the War — both fiction and non-fiction — by Iranian authors, however, has opened up aspects of the conflict that I had not considered before I read such literature. I came to understand how belief and faith helped many of the Iranian forces endure the onslaught of a better armed and well-funded aggressor.
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN -- The 5th Damonfar Painting Biennial, which is for artists under 25, opened at Tehran’s Mellat Cinema Complex on Friday.
     
    Works by 95 painters have been selected for the biennial, which runs until October 24. 
     
    The biennial is organized by Damonfar, the Iranian representative of France’s Pebeo and Canson, and Germany’s Faber-Castell, three companies that manufacture art materials.
     
    “In addition to their visual beauty, the works make a plain criticism of the human society,” Damonfar Managing Director Seifollah Puya-Rad said at the opening ceremony of the event.
     
    “It seems reasonable for sociologists and officials to visit such exhibitions for analytical purposes,” he added.
     
    “You will certainly be delighted to see the view of the young artists in the works,” he stated.
     
    “I have held out hope that the new generation of Iranian painters will elevate their skills and I’m sure that the developing current of Iranian art is premium and unique in the region,” he added.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – Iranian director Hooman Seyyedi’s “13” and South Korean filmmaker Kim Daehwan’s “End of Winter” have shared the New Currents Award at the 19th Busan Film Festival.
     
    Winners in the New Currents competition section were announced on Friday by a jury, which was headed by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. 
     
    “End of Winter” impressed the jury with its “stylistic consistency, its skillful exploration of family relations, its elegant mastery of cinematic space and its great cast ensemble” Farhadi said a press conference. 
     
    “13”, which is about a 13-year-old boy’s loneliness and rebellious rage at the violence that surrounds him, showed “inventive camerawork” and “dynamism”, Farhadi stated.
     
    The New Currents section of the festival screened 12 movies by directors from 10 countries. The section presents a showcase of young talent who are expected to play leading roles in the Asian film industry.
     
    Iranian director Safi Yazdanian’s “What’s the Time in Your World?” was also competing in the New Currents section of the festival, which was held in South Korea from October 2 to 11.
     
    Choi Woo-shik won the award for the 2014 Actor of the Year for his role in South Korean filmmaker Kim Tae Yong’s “Set Me Free”. Cho Soohyang was named the 2014 Actress of the Year for her role in South Korean director Park Sukyoung’s “Wild Flowers”.
     
     
    SB/YAW
    END
     

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  • 10/13/14--22:51: Art news in brief
  • Tehran festival to screen U.S. and Canadian productions 
     
    TEHRAN – Ten U.S. and Canadian productions will be screened in the international section of the 31st Tehran International Short Film Festival, which opens today.
     
    “Unordinary Journey in an Ordinary Day” by Yoshino Aoki (Canada), “Swallowed Whole” by Heidi Kumao (U.S.), and “Beauty” by Colin Racicot (Canada) are some of the movies that will go on screen during the weeklong event.
     
     
    Foundation for theaters for children and young adults established 
     
    TEHRAN -- The 21st International Theater Festival for Children and Young Adults in Hamedan has announced the establishment of a foundation for theaters for children and young adults.
     
    Theatrical figures Davud Kianian, Mansur Khalaj and Moslem Qasemi are among the members of the establishing board. 
     
    The foundation will concentrate on theatrical productions for children and young adults. The festival will be running until October 15.
     
     
    Tajik expert to discuss position of Hafez in his country 
     
    TEHRAN -- Tajik expert Shahmansour Shahmirza Khajaev will deliver a lecture on the position of Persian poet Hafez in the culture of Tajikistan at the ECO Cultural Institute today.
     
    The session has been arranged to commemorate National Hafez Day (October 12).
     
     
    Two Iranian films to compete in Tajikistan’s Didor fest
    TEHRAN -- The acclaimed Iranian movie “Fish and Cat” by Shahram Mokri and “Iranian Ninja” by Marjan Riahi will be competing in the 6th Didor International Film Festival in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, which runs from October 16 to 20.
     
    In addition, Iranian filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi will attend the festival as a jury member of the festival. 
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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