Art and Experience: The film was produced in 1991, but failed to obtain a screening license. After nine years of protest, the director managed to get permission to screen the film abroad and at foreign film festivals. Only Iranian audiences were deprived of viewing it.
Producer Mehdi Dadgoo’s ceaseless efforts with the Art and Experience Cinematic Group affiliated to the Iran Cinema Organization finally succeeded and after more than 20 years since production the film finally got the go-ahead in the home turf.
The director however seems listless since the prolonged delay appears to have spoiled his passion. During the debut ceremony on December 23, he told reporters that the screening evokes no feelings in him. Pointing to the fact that some of the crew members including his assistant, have passed away, he said sarcastically that “he is glad his film is being screened before his death,” Cinetmag.com reported.
Jalili deems ‘Dance of Dust’ his most mystical film and “a divine blessing.” Each and every scene of the film has a message to convey which has its roots in reality, he said.
Amir-Hussein Alamolhoda, director of the Art and Experience Cinematic Group, has proposed to help Jalili’s 14 other banned films to be screened, but Jalili was not impressed and “not wanting to start from scratch after 20 years.”
The group screens art house action genre and experimental films suitable for a specific group of audience in a limited number of movie theaters in the country. The movies typically aim at a niche market rather than a mass market audience, so their wide release is not financially justified. ‘Dance of Dust’ was the 58th film shown in the cinematic group which started its programs one and a half years ago.
Jalili, 58, is an internationally acclaimed film director. He uses children, adolescents and non-professional actors, and creates a deep relationship with them, to discover their hidden talents.
Before making his first feature film in 1984, Jalili had directed 20 short and documentary films for the state TV. However, none of the 15 feature films he has made in 21 years have been released locally.
“Those who banned ‘Dance of Dust’ should answer now; if there was a problem with it then, why is it permitted now because it is the same movie. And if there was nothing wrong with it then, why were the (cinema) officials so unkind to me because I suffered both financially and emotionally by their decision,” he said.
The film was the first Iranian movie after the 1979 Islamic Revolution which had no dialogues. It was said that “I want to show that Iranians are dumb and have no power to speak, whereas I had no such intentions,” Jalili noted.
The only chance for Iranians to see some of his films are on state TV. A number of the movies were coproduced by the state broadcaster IRIB; thus they are shown on TV channels.
Int’l Prize Winners
International festivals, though, have shown great interest in the films. Jalili won the Silver Cheetah at the 51st Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland, in 1998 for ‘Dance of Dust’ and the special jury award of San Sebastian International Film Festival, Spain, in the same year for ‘Don’.
He won Golden Montgolfiere of Three Continents Festival, Nantes, for his films ‘One’ in 1993 and ‘Delbaran’ in 1996. He was honored at the French festival in 2008. ‘Hafez’, one of his last films, won the special jury award at Rome Film Festival, Italy, in 2006.
Resembling documentaries in form, his movies contain few dialogues and the mise en scene usually dominate the film narrative; that is, the film’s visual style and pacing is more significant than the specific events shown on screen.
‘Dance of Dust’ is the story of a boy called Ilia who lives alone in an old brick workshop. He makes friends with a girl called Limoa, who lives there too with her mother, and his journey begins.
“I would like my movies to work like Hafez’s poems; that is, similar to the good feeling they get after reading Hafez’s poetry, watching my films give them mystical peace,” Jalili said.
The director added that through the film, he wanted to present the global audience an international image of eastern mysticism. “I wanted to convey my message without using words and only by images which can be understood everywhere without being distorted.”
The film will be on screen till January 31, 2016 at Cinema Farhang, Cinema Museum, Charsou Cineplex, Iranian Artists Forum and Kourosh Cineplex in Tehran as well as Hoveyzeh Cineplex in Mashhad, Soureh Cinema in Isfahan and Art & Experience Cinema in Shiraz. (Financial Tribune)