Press Conference of the 9th BJIFF Tiantan Award Official Selection Tehran: City of Love Held in Beijing Yesterday

  Tehran: City of Love, written and directed by Ali Jaberansari and an official selection of Tiantan Award, Competition Section, held its press conference at Beijing Hotel•Nuo on Wednesday, April 17th with its co-screenwriter and co-producer Maryam Najafi, co-producer Mohammad Ahmadi, actress Forough Ghajabegli and cinematographer Mohammad Reza Jahanpanah present.

  This is a bittersweet tale of three middle-aged disenchanted characters: an ex bodybuilding champion, an overweight beauty clinic secretary, and a dispirited religious singer who yearn for love in a city that does not embrace them. Despite that the film was set in an Iranian city, everyone who was at loss would feel connected.

  The heroine, a beauty clinic secretary with bulimia portrays herself to be sexy and extremely charming online. After meeting her confidant online, she’s worried he would be upset by her difference when they meet in reality. In modern times, we are used to disguise ourselves while confiding in strangers online. Is this interesting contraindication that makes the writer of Tehran: City of Love start thinking? According to Maryam Najafi, “People in modern times want to get emotionally connected while in disguise. Because we hope that our true ego would be found and appreciated by someone who does understand us. This kind of appreciation should be detached from our appearance, social status and identity. This is why we’d like to hide our true identity and mingle with strangers who understand us online.”

  Forough Ghajabegli played a role that yearns for but fears love at the same time. When asked by journalist present how she dealt with this contraindication, Forough said she is very alike the role. Thus, she would calm herself down and figure out how herself would react. Personal experience wouldn’t suffice. She also observed how people around her reacted and integrated their reaction into her performance.

  Besides, cinematographer of the film introduced how he used shots to present emotional ups and downs of the roles. At the beginning of the project, he agreed with the film’s director that instead of close-ups to highlight a role, he would leverage restrain and calm shots to present interaction between roles. Meanwhile, he infused his craftmanship and subtlety into the film. If audience observes carefully, they will notice each role is filmed with certain combination of shots. In addition, he added a few touches of humor to avert the film from being too dull and boring.

  As a film co-produced by Iran, Britain and Netherlands, the involved Iranian filmmakers experimented some practices. As co-producer Mohammad Ahmadi mentioned, the loneliness of urban men and women the film dealt with is very common and there are many people from different countries and regions would feel resonated. Objectively speaking, this is conducive to teamwork between filmmakers from different countries. On the other hand, as a producer, he was obliged to increase the film’s budget as much as he could so that the cast and crew would not feel regretful about the film because of budget issues. He felt lucky to complete the project and highlighted the film would not be possible without the whole team’s efforts.

  Today, Tehran: City of Love receives a certain amount of attention from around the world. The attending cast and crew expressed they were very honored to have their film present at such as great platform as the Beijing International Film Festival.