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Interview with Rouhollah Hejazi, Director of the Film The Dark Room

Has family, as the backbone of society, weakened today?

In every society a family is very important, it is the backbone of the whole society. In my films, I mainly deal with family.  The Dark Room is also a film that deals with family problems, but I also dealt with another subject that no one in Iran was dealing with. This is the problem that every society has, and that is the problem of child abuse. It is difficult for us to deal with this topic because our society does not allow that.

How did the Iranian society respond?

Because we are prevented to talk about this issue, the film did not have a lot of screenings in Iran. However, people in charge have estimated that this film is significant and that people should pay attention to it.

There are three very demanding roles in this film. The role of mother, father and son. How did you work with the actors?

As you know, working with a small number of actors and characters is very demanding, but I mostly make such films. In my previous films I also had a small number of characters. When you work with several actors, you have to devote a lot of effort to working with them and their characters. The actress who starred in this film (Sareh Bayat) has also worked with Asghar Farhadi. This actress won the prize in Berlin along with her colleagues. In the leading role was a critically acclaimed actor (Saed Soheili), they were both nominated in the Best Actor and Best Actress category at festivals in Vietnam and India. This is an indication that they did their job well. I also worked with an actor who was brilliant in the role of a boy (Alireza Mirsalari). The boy (Alireza) was selected out of the three hundred boys who auditioned for the film.   

How difficult is it to make a film in Iran today?

In Iran, as in any other country, there are many problems with making films. Although in Iran we do not have a problem with the very production of films, they can be made, but it is important how to choose the subject. One is not allowed to choose just any kind of subject.

How did you decide to deal with this subject of child abuse?

I am a married man and I have a child, and I have heard all kinds of stories about the abuse of children. I was interested in this subject as a parent, and since I am a film director, I wanted to focus on this topic and to present it because it is a universal problem that everyone has to face.

It is a cultural thing, our culture does not allow us to deal with universal problems. On the other hand, government is a layer of society, but we want to inform people about certain issues that are not pleasant. Today we address them, and tomorrow some of them will be in power. It is therefore important to deal with this topic and for the same reason this topic concerns the authorities.


Andrija Ilić



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