×

BUSAN: Iranian Director Makhmalbaf Assesses His ‘President’

At the Tuesday press conference for the BIFF Gala Presentation “The President,” Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf explained how he first conceived the idea for a film about a deposed dictator (Georgian actor Misha Gomiashvili) forced go incognito in his own country, accompanied by his five-year-old grandson. “I was in the Darul Aman Palace in Kabul, where (Afghanistan’s) presidents had lived,” Makhmalbaf said. “I wondered how they looked at the city, how they played with their power.” He came up with the idea of a dictator turning off the city lights for fun – but realizing something is wrong when they fail to go on again. Used in the film, this scene signals the start of the coup and the beginning of the end for the once all-mighty hero.

Instead of a simplistic tale of how good (the coup) triumphs over bad (the dictator), Makhmalbaf said he wanted to show how revolutionary violence begets more violence once the revolutionaries are in power, a cycle he argued can be seen in the bloody aftermath of another of the film’s inspirations: the uprisings of Arab Spring. “Revolutions break the thin ice of society and the violence of our animal nature comes up,” the director explained.

Forced to live in exile and faced with attempts on his life for his activism, Makhmalbaf sees cinema as an agent for change. “We need good films to educate people around the world,” he says. “Not everyone can go to the university. Cinema is the university of people in poor countries.” As for his own role as a filmmaker? “When someone dies of political violence, that becomes my busienss. I can’t say ‘I’m an artist’ when people are killing each other.”

More Film

  • The Lion King Box Office

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Rules With $185 Million Debut

    Simba and Mufasa reigned supreme this weekend as Disney’s “The Lion King” dominated box office charts. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the animated classic collected a massive $185 million from 4,756 North American theaters during its first three day of release. The movie landed the best domestic launch for a PG film and set a [...]

  • Creative-Producers-Indaba-Cover-Image-1920x1080-px-2

    Realness, EAVE, IFFR, Sundance Launch African Producers Network

    DURBAN–South Africa’s Realness Institute, EAVE, the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Sundance Institute are joining forces to create the Creative Producers Indaba, a professional training program designed to support emerging African producers. Inspired by initiatives such as the EAVE Producers Workshop and Sundance’s Creative Producing, the program will bring together 15 participants to develop [...]

  • BOTM-Eve-Viper-Gang

    Director Angus Gibson: My Audience is ‘Young, Black South Africans’

    DURBAN–Sophiatown, 1958. On the outskirts of Johannesburg, as the apartheid police prepare to demolish the community at the heart of black South African cultural and intellectual life, a notorious gang leader is determined to make a last stand. Resisting the forced evictions that will transport the residents of Sophiatown to a desolate township miles away, [...]

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor

    Natalie Portman Returns for 'Thor: Love and Thunder' as Female Thor

    Natalie Portman is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she’s no one’s love interest this time around. The Oscar winner will play a female god of thunder in the fourth film from the Chris Hemsworth series, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Portman hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to great [...]

  • Fantastic Four

    New 'Fantastic Four' Movie in Development at Marvel

    Marvel is going back to the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced that a new movie based on the superhero group is in the works at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Further details, however, including a release date, were not revealed. It marks the first Fox property for Disney to mine since the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content