Road trip to Tehran provides inspiration for movie maker

Published September 26th, 2012 - 01:39 GMT
“The Mourning” by Morteza Farshbaf will be screening on Tuesday, 25th September at 7-30pm.
“The Mourning” by Morteza Farshbaf will be screening on Tuesday, 25th September at 7-30pm.

Stories can come from anywhere. For Iranian director Morteza Farshbaf, it came during a journey from Tehran to north Iran with his brother to visit their mother.

“We were on the road, talking and chatting when we suddenly went through a tunnel and everything went dark and we just stopped talking. That’s when the story came to me,” he explains. “I thought to myself, if people need the light to talk to each other and to see each other, what happens when they go into the dark? The environment forces them to think, it changes perspectives.”

Farshbaf’s film, Mourning, is one of three films screening at the Dubai International Film Festival’s monthly showcase of films from around the world called Film Buzz at The Pavilion Downtown Dubai.

All in Farsi, this month’s programme, called ‘Focus on Iran’, also includes Sa’adat-Abad (Felicity-Land) by Mazier Miri and Chiz-Haie Hast Keh Nemidani (There are things you don’t know) by Fardin Saheb Zamani.

A road film, Mourning follows the journey of young boy, who, along with his hearing-impaired uncle and aunt go in search of his parents and come face-to-face with complicated family relationships and emotions.

Expanded from a short he wrote with a friend called “The Wind Blows Wherever It Wants,” while training with legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Farshbaf says it wasn’t easy getting his debut feature film off the ground.

“Producers told me it would be suicide to put money into it. They just didn’t get the story. So I went to family and friends and raised about $25,000 and filmed it in two months. The cast is entirely made of up non-professional actors and the crew did it all for free,” he says.

Mourning has already won the Best Film and Best Director at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea and has been nominated in various categories at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the London International Film Festival.

Despite its dark theme, Farshbaf, 27, says he insisted on filming his black comedy during spring, juxtaposing the story’s premise to the country’s beautiful landscape.

“I loved the contrast. For me it’s a way of saying that despite darkness and hopelessness, after all, maybe everything can be fine. It is about hope… that things can be better… for a brighter future.”

While he is working on his next project, another thing Farshbaf is hopeful for, is for Mourning to eventually be given the green light in his country.

“I live in hope,” he says, smiling.

Don’t miss it

Film Buzz’ Focus on Iran kicks off on Monday at The Pavilion Downtown Dubai with Sa’adat-Abad (Felicity-Land) at 8pm, Mourning on Tuesday at 7:30pm and Chiz-Haie Hast Keh Nemidani (There are things you don’t know) on Wednesday at 7:30pm. Entry is free to all the screenings. For more information, go to and

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