«The Son» press conference report
On April 27, 2021, the press conference dedicated to the film «The Son» by Iranian director Noushin Meraji took place. The film is in the Main Competition of the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival. Director Noushin Meraji, producer Mehdi Fard Ghaderi, actresses Golbabael Aysan and Heydari Zahra participated in the press conference.
The film's main character, 40-year-old Farid lives with his mother. He is very vulnerable and escapes loneliness, but in the meantime tries to prove himself independent and supportive of his mother. However, her sudden death makes Farid frustrated. To escape from this unfamiliar situation, he clings to anyone he encounters outside home to make this loneliness bearable, but he does not know how to communicate and the situation gets worse each time.
«Farid is based on real life, he is a sort of a generalized character of people I sometimes see among my acquaintances. They are helpless, infantile, dependent, a burden for their close ones, but they try to seem more significant than they actually are. I think that we get further away from each other, become lonelier in the era of digital development and communications. I talk to a lot of people during the day, but can wake up at night and realize I’m deeply lonely,» director Noushin Meraji said.
The main character of the film is constantly watching «The Godfather», and the director sees an element of fixation and — surprisingly enough — her own psychological problems in it.
«My favourite trick is the repetition of phrases or actions, and I often use it in my films. Maybe that's a reflection of my own mental issues. The main character's obsession on one film means his narrow-mindedness, he can’t build relations with people, can’t develop and overcome his problems,» Meraji said.
She added that her main inspirations were «The Return» by Andrey Zvyagintsev and Anton Chekhov.
«Since early childhood, I've known Chekhov — my father was interested in theatre and Chekhov's works were admired and read at my family home. So this came into my life and is unconsciously reflected in my art. You can see traces of Chekhov's tragic comedies in all my scripts, and maybe I adopted the bitter humour of my films from Chekhov’s plays,» the director said.
According to her, Chekov's plays have always attracted her with a dialogue of contradictions.
«My characters can laugh, but that's how they react to the events they can't grieve about differently. It's about laughing and being in pain at the same time. I was also intrigued by the psychological aspect, by the problems that may arise in the family and later emerge in other spheres of life. For example, I notice my opinions change dramatically within half an hour, and I'm keen to look into this aspect,» the director said.
By the way, actress Айсан Голбабэль, for whom «The Son» is her first work in film, is a psychologist by degree.
«My role was relatable to me from the psychological standpoint. My character is an artist who meets a young man and finds out about his addictions and weaknesses, so this role seemed really exciting to me,» the actress said.
Her colleague Захра Хейдари finds the project memorable because it was the first time she worked with a female director.
«Working on this film has helped me master new acting techniques. Thanks to the directorial work and our rehearsals, I managed to get closer to my character and eventually get into it,» Heydari noted.
The cast and crew representatives also answered a question about the censorship in Iran.
«My attitude is negative, it's a limitation. However, taking into account my 17 years of experience, I can tell you that Iran has eased some of the requirements. Nevertheless, censorship in art can help develop inventiveness. Although I oppose censorship,» the director said.
Experienced producer Mehdi Fard Ghaderi believes that the role of censorship in Iranian cinema is overestimated.
«Surely, there is a range of limitations — for example, women should wear Muslim clothes; but it's natural, it's how the laws of our country work. We were in München once and were asked, «Where do you think censorship doesn't exist?» And I don't know such countries, where artists and creators can work freely, without taking political or social context into consideration,» the producer concluded.