Art and Experience: Jean-Michel Frodon, worked as an educator from 1971 to 1981. He became a journalist and film critic for the weekly periodical Le Point, of which his father, Pierre Billard, also a journalist and a film critic, was one of the founders and chief editors. He held this post until 1990.He took over the same functions at the daily newspaper Le Monde in 1990 and in 1995, he became responsible for the daily film column. In 2003 he became head editor of Cahiers du cinémas four years after its purchase by Le Monde. After leaving in 2009, he writes the blog Projection publique on website slate.fr. He has written, at times, for numerous other journals of cinema.
You did not attend Fajr International Film Festival last year, and this will be the first time you are attending FIFF. What do think about the division between the national and international section which has happened for the last two years?
I am not really in favor of this move. Because the main reason I come to Iran is to watch Iranian films not foreign films. With this division between the national and international section which has happened in the last two years, most of the guests are foreigners and again almost all of the films are non-Iranian films.
But there are still many Iranian films in Fajr International Film Festival.
Yes, it is true. But of course there are not as many movies as it were in the Fajr Film Festival as it was used to be. I have attended Fajr Film Festival for almost twenty years and I professionally follow Iran’s cinema. Therefore, my main purpose, when I come to Iran, is to watch Iranian films not foreign films which I have seen before in other festivals. I also have a problem with the timing of the festival. It is a bit complicated for me because Fajr International Festival is too close to the Cannes Festival.
With all these complications, what motivated you to come to Fajr International Festival after all?
The real reason is that the cultural section of France Embassy invited me to participate in a program which is about French filmmakers who were under the influence of “new wave”, and that was the only time I could attend the program. The program “French cinema week” is being held from 23rd to 26th of April in the contemporary art museum of Tehran. Because I have researched a lot on the subject of new wave, I was responsible for choosing the films for the program. The program started with “Mauvais Sang” directed by Leos Carax, which was an influential film in the 80’s. Unfortunately the program overlaps with the screenings of Fajr International Film Festival and this can surely trouble those who want to participate in both of these programs.
Is there any major difference in holding the festival from how it used to be hold in previous years?
To be honest with you, this is the first time that I am coming here and I haven’t had the chance to watch the films or attend the programs. But generally, I can say that the location of the festival is really beautiful, and it is obvious that the director of the festival has done his best to offer everything possible to the audience and also to create a welcoming atmosphere for them. I cannot comment more on the festival because I have just arrived and I haven’t been able to pay more attention to the details or the program of the festival.