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Home arrow CINEMA arrow VENEZIA77 | Under Tehran’s sun. Interview with Majid Majidi
VENEZIA77 | Under Tehran’s sun. Interview with Majid Majidi
Written by Redazioneweb2   

ImageBorn in Tehran in 1959, Majid Majidi is the first Iranian director to receive an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film (Children of Heaven, 1996). With his latest film, Sun Children, in Competition at the Festival, his focus shifts back on the surprising world of children, especially those who have been abandoned and are in difficulty, but who deserve more justice and dignity

 

All the young protagonists seem to be experienced actors. In everyday life, they are child workers. How did you cast them?

We had over 3000 auditions, over a four months period, before identifying our actors. Some are real street children, like Shamila (Zahra) and her brother Aboulfazl. They are Afghan immigrants on screen but also in real life. They live with their parents and just like in the film, they split their days between working in the streets or subway and attending a school for child workers. I visited their school a year ago. Shamila was like a light, so self-assured, with a natural charisma. I then met with her younger brother and I asked them to argue in their language. They were so natural and perfect that we asked them to come to the casting. Their acting strength came from their life experience. As for Rouhollah (Ali), he too had never acted. He was pure, with a raw energy, determined to give more than expected.

 

To cast the main character was the hardest task. But Rouhollah surpassed all the others because he had such an intensity, such a desire to get the lead — much like the character in the movie, so determined to find the treasure and save his mother.

 

The character of the teacher embodies something any of us should do for endangered children: assume a role of individual responsibility where society falls short and, in some cases, ruthless…

The real treasure is these kids and their potential. Education is their inalienable right and it is the key to their futures. Of course, not all children are natural scholars, and many don’t like sitting in a classroom, but it gives them time to breathe and to grow and to discover themselves and others around them. It’s a chance all kids need. The juxtaposition of the school and the treasure creates a metaphor to highlight the importance of education and the need to dig inside yourself to find your treasure. Children should not be deprived from their childhood and miss their development. Children deserve to be treated with more protection, dignity and justice and I hope my film can contribute to that.

 

The tunnel scenes are very immersive and engaging. How was the set built?

Most of the locations were real because we wanted the movie to feel seamless, not like a fiction but more like a documentary. The tunnel and the water tank were constructed especially for the film, and it was the most challenging part of the shoot. Every part of this tunnel was built separately to accommodate the actors’ movements and to allow the camera to film from different angles. It took a month to complete and it was tough.

 

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