Posted by: professorepler | October 6, 2010


Naderi + Dinero

1st, READ excerpt from article appearing “The Cinema of North African and the Middle East,” ed. by Gonul Donmez-Colin.
Text below is taken entirely from article by Bahmn Maghsoudlou, appearing here:

When he was five-years-old, Naderi was orphaned by the death of his mother. He has very few memories of his mother and does not remember his father at all. Left a young street urchin struggling to survive in an impoverished society, Naderi began to tap his well of creativity by finding a variety of ways to support himself: he sold ice water to passersby, was a shoeshine boy and even gathered and sold empty beer bottles from the refuse dumped into the sea by passing ships.
In his early teens, Naderi left Abadan and traveled to the Iranian capital city of Tehran where he managed to obtain work as a still photographer on movie sets – a job that he performed into his early twenties. He loved the cinema and quickly understood that it was where he belonged.
he Runner was the first post-revolutionary film to come out of Iran and was a true turning point for Iranian Cinema after the Revolution. It was shown on the last day of the Venice Film Festival, where it received both critical and popular acclaim. It later shared the Grand Prix of the Tri-Continents Film Festival at Nantes and has been selected for such prestigious festivals as those in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Sydney. Its success at festivals prompted its commercial release in England, France, Germany, Japan and the United States.

Although several of Naderi’s films have been banned by the Iranian government, Naderi is not a political filmmaker. Any political statement is derived from his strong conscience, which does not allow him to compromise what he knows to be the truth of life in his native land. Hence, through his unique visionary style, he conveys his personal attitude toward injustice, misery and suppression – not just that of the society in which he grew up and from which he escaped, but of all humankind who live in such degrading circumstances.

After viewing a Naderi film, it is impossible to believe that the film was made by a man who never got beyond the Fifth Grade. Naderi had to leave school at the age of twelve to go out onto the streets to support himself from day to day. As he sat shining other peoples’ shoes, he had a lot of time to think about his life. He came to the realization – one far wiser than his years – that without knowledge and learning, he would always be tied to the ground and never be able to soar. So Amir Naderi began educating himself. He read every important novel he could find, short stories, anything that would add to his knowledge and understanding – he even translated from the Persian. He found a home in literature and through a love of art, taught himself about paintings. It was Naderi’s personal understanding of the power of learning, of literacy that found expression in some of the most powerfully emotional scenes in The Runner, as Amiro comes to the realization that the strongest weapon he can have against the treadmill of poverty is literacy and education.

Naderi’s films are almost plotless, like Michelangelo Antonioni’s. He works with a minimum of events and characters in relation to an environment that shapes the narrative. His narratives are lean, direct, emotional, but not manipulative. Unlike Antonioni, who focuses on middle-class women, the central figure in Naderi’s films is a poverty-stricken young man, or a boy on the verge of manhood struggling with survival in a ruthless, brutal world of economic and emotional deprivation.
Naderi’s cinema is honest like John Ford’s, poetic like Robert Flaherty’s, masculine like Howard Hawks’, mysterious as Alfred Hitchcock’s, powerful as Orson Welles’, humanistic like Jean Renoir’s, bitter and realistic like Vittorio De Sica’s and sometimes as dark and surrealistic as Luis Buñuel’s.
Left for NYC in let 80s and became instructor at Columbia University, University of Las Vegas, and NYU’s film school.


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