Art and Experience: Gay Jennifer Breyley gained her PhD from the University of Wollongong. She is currently (2007) Faculty of Arts Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Music – Conservatorium at Monash University, Australia which is one of the country’s prestigious Group of Eight. Breyley is also editor and translator of Changing the Curtains, the Money and the Guns (Sydney, 1997), a volume of oral histories recorded in eastern Germany.
Is this your first time that you experience participating Fajr International Film Festival? While you have been in this festival, how do you compare this edition with the previous ones?
It is my first time at the Fajr International Film Festival, but I have been in Tehran many times. I first came here thirteen years ago as a tourist then I came back as a student and after that nearly every year I have come as a tourist.
How did you see the festival atmosphere?
It is really nice; there are lots of discussions going on, lots of people meeting each other which is very nice. The staff is very friendly, very helpful and very patient with lots of people to look after who might have different requests.
How do you find the festival venue which is in the heart of Tehran?
I think it is a good idea, as this area is more interesting than the previous one which was in north of Tehran and this one is more convenient.
How much are you familiar with the Iranian cinema?
I am fairly familiar, but the films that we see outside Iran are different from the ones that are shown in popular cinemas or even on the television. There are certain types of films which are all commonly shared outside Iran, but I think quite a few documentaries here that would be quite difficult to see otherwise and FIFF is a good reference to learn about them. It is too difficult to pick any favorite Iranian filmmakers, but I do like lots of them such as Kiarostami , Farhadi and of course Rakhshan Banietemad. Depending on what genre of cinema we want to talk about, there are some certain traits in the Iranian cinema that make the Iranian cinema a unique one, like there was a movement for Iranian films with children as centric characters in which children represent bigger ideas.
What motivated you to come here?
It is a problem with English speaking societies in general that it has not been common for them to learn other languages and other cultures, but ‘A Separation’ for example was shown in Australia even in small towns where the ordinary people live and they would never normally have chosen to see an Iranian film but only because it was brought there they went to watch it and as they did they really loved it. So I think the only problem that the common people are not familiar with the Iranian cinema is the lack of access to watch the films. I think when people do see the Iranian cinema it does have wide appeal since it has a lot of universal themes about the human conditions so I think they can work for the people all around the world. I was really pleased to be invited to the 34th FIFF and very keen to see some films that I would not normally see in my own country, I am here to see how the festival is run and organized, what kinds of films are shown and it is very nice to meet other people who have come here from all around the world.
The 34th edition of Fajr International Film Festival is being held from April 20th to April 25th, 2016 in Charsou Cineplex, under the supervision of the well-known Iranian filmmaker, Mr. Reza Mirkarimi, who is also the Managing Director of Khaneh Cinema.