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Beijing Olympics in the Eyes of an Iranian Director
    2006-12-31 11:33:18     CRIENGLISH.com

Iranian director Majid Majidi. [Photo: ttcen.com]
2006-12-20 Beijing Olympics in the Eyes of an Iranian Director

In order to popularize Beijing's image as a cosmopolitan city, the Beijing government decided to invite five world-famous directors to introduce Beijing to audiences via documentaries.

And Iranian director Majid Majidi is one of them. He just visited Beijing for his shoot. Our reporter Shuangfeng takes a look at the director's work in the capital.

Majidi's major works, most notably "The Children of Heaven" from 1997, are famous all over the world. But even such an experienced director thought it difficult to fully present Beijing's glamour in a 5-minute documentary. True, a history of 3,000 years in 5 minutes, that's a pretty tough job.

Finally, Majidi has decided to use his favorite angle, that is the world through children's eyes.

"Maybe it's because I gained my reputation from shooting children's stories. The purity of children is indeed a source of inspiration for an artist. And that's why the heroes in my documentary will also be kids."

Majidi said that he will introduce Beijing from 5 of its aspects --- its tradition, history, culture, civilization, and its present. His shoot was set up on an old street in Beijing. Children pass by on their bikes with balloons in their hands. It's a bit similar to scenes from his former works --- small Iranian village, narrow streets, hilarious children, etc. Majidi admits that he has a special interest in this kind of visual angle. He likes to hide his cameras in special places, in order to catch life as it really is. Sometimes, even the actors don't know where the cameras are. In fact, Majidi doesn't use any professional actors in this documentary for the Beijing Olympics; instead, he uses more than 1,000 children. One thousand! Imagine how lively it must be!

The hilarious children reminded Majidi of his own childhood. He told CRI that he played his first role in a children's theatre when he was 12, afterwards pursuing his stage career all the way to director. His experience in that children's theatre deeply influenced him. He said that a child's world is always so pure, so true. So, whenever he feels sick and tired of the adult world, he comes back to children for more inspiration.

Majidi has named the documentary "Peace, Love, and Friendship." During its premiere, Majidi read the Koran to pray for good luck. As a pious Muslim, Majidi knows how to cherish peace and love. He also has his own understanding of the slogan for the 2008 Olympics, "One World, One Dream." 
"The Olympic Games are not only a sports event, they are a symbol of friendship between different nationalities worldwide. And people will cherish more peace and friendship through this grand gathering."

Now, Majidi has realized his childhood dream, which is to read life via his own perspective in different places all over the world. As a director, Majidi thinks that art, especially the art of film, is a bridge for communication and understanding. Through films, peace and friendship can be passed on. 
"Movies are working much better than politics to show the real nature of people. Especially when we talk about my home country Iran, most of the news coverage in the western media is negative. I hope that from my movies, with what pure children see and talk about, the world can be able to know the real Iran, the hospitality of the Iranian people and their peace-loving nature."

Finishing 2 weeks of shooting in Beijing, Majidi has gone back to Iran for postproduction. Before him, Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore had been the first director invited to shoot a propaganda documentary for the Beijing Olympics. The next three directors to be invited will be Oliver Stone, John Woo and Australian female director Jane Campion.



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