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Houman Seyyedi talks to
About his work as
filmmaker and actor
By Bijan Tehrani, Cinema Without
10/17/2017 Feature Story, Videos
I knew Houman Seyyedi as a very talented
actor until I learned about him as a film director and then came the big
After watching the four
movies that has been released from Houman as a filmmaker, I was amazed by the
freshness of his approach to filmmaking and new ideas and his great use of
language of cinema in telling his stories.
Let’s not forget that filmmakers like Abbas
Kiarostami had taken the first steps in this rout. I wish more
success for Iranian cinema in the future.
Borders: Do you see the images of your film, before you write your
Seyyedi: Sometimes people may think that loving some images
inspires me to make a movie but this really doesn’t happen maybe the reason for
this thinking is that images in their nature are more powerful than words, I am
not completely agreeing with this kind of thinking, images are quite specific,
but words leave a room for imagination and the readers finds the opportunity to
make their own version it. Then I write the stories for the feeling I think
about their practicality. Except for my last film that Brock the rules I usually
follow, if while making a film I had encountered a moment or sequence that
doesn’t have a visual language, I would have changed it. I believe story,
screenplay, and images, they have each their own value. Images should do their
own parts, sequences should be meaningful and walk a little bit ahead of the
screenplay otherwise we will be dealing with a radio/Cinema!
CWB: Do you think your films belong to
Film Noir genre?
HS : yes I have been told that
some of my films are Film Noir, it has been mentioned about Africa but you know
film noire genre has no existence without its own elements, or at least that is
how I think. Lenny crime dramas are called film noir, but if you start to take
away the black-and-white atmosphere of the classic film noir and it’s other main
elements then you may be left with what you can call it modern film noir it is
trying to get closer to the society’s matters . Therefore I am not insisting
that I am film noir genre filmmaker or my films are film noir or on the other
hand rejecting the notions that my films are in that genre by others. The reason
is that I don’t say let’s make film noir, genres are not attracting me to make a
film, but it is concept, story and the concerns that I have about an issue.
CWB: As a film director you work with certain actors like Navid
Mozafarzadeh in most of your films, any specific reason for
HS: In working with actors it is important to
me is that they are clever and have good understanding, I don’t mean we have
just a few actors with good understanding talent, or because I always just work
with the same actors, the rest do not have this talent. Usually I know foe whom
I am writing a part and we work together to develop that part. I don’t think the
method of first writing a script and then looking for actors for it by giving
the script to them to read it and respond does not work well. At least until
know I have written my parts for certain actors and I always inform them about
the development process.
CWB: A few weeks ago I wrote a note about your brilliant performance
as an actor and how masterfully you portrait outlaw and rebel characters
and I mentioned that there is something in the way you deal with the
characters you play that reminds me of James Dean. Specially with your amazing
and successful part in “Asheghane” series. Please tell us about your acting
HS: It’s really kind of you. I have been
lucky that after seventeen years of work as an actor, I have been recognized for
the character I play in Asheghane series.
I run a acting workshop, but more than teaching my students I always remind
myself about the essence of acting, acting for me is being like a diamond that
over the years and by being polished becomes more valuable. If you call me a
“cinematic actor” it could be due to my understanding of filmmaking, editing,
stage design, custom design, make up, that God has helped me to achieve
experience in them. My success may be due to the fact that I try to be useful
and prepared and less uncertain like some others. I almost know what I am doing
and after reading the script I know if I fit there and if I accept a part I
dedicate all of me to it and all through the process just concentrate on my
part. You are too kind to compare me with the legendary James Dean and I
consider more coming from your sense of humor than you may mean it as James Dean
for me is among the best actors of all times and it’s a pity that he left this
world so soon.
CWB: Are you thinking about working as an actor of
filmmaker outside Iran and how do you see the status of Iranian Cinema in the
HS: My goal is that I want my films to
be seen and while keeps its values it finds more audience and have a global
success, I believe everyone likes this. But when I make a film, I don’t think
about making my film for a specific festival or for an expanded screening in the
world cinema. I just try to make my films the way I think they should be made.
After making a film I accept whatever the consequence is. I believe the only
filmmaker that does not make a bad movie, is the one that makes no movies! This
kind of approach makes filmmaking easier for me and let’s me dare once in a year
or every other year to go behind the camera and make the movie I like. I pray
not for myself but for the success of Iranian Cinema that through great
achievements of Mr. Asghar
Farhadi, has opened more doors for Iranian filmmakers. And of course the
presence of the Golshifteh
Frahani, Shahab Hosseini,
Alidoosti, Leila Hatami and
in the international scene life has been made a lot easier for us now and
Iranian films are taken more seriously now.
not forget that filmmakers like Abbas Kiarostami
had taken the first steps in this rout. I wish more success for Iranian cinema
in the future.
After getting a high school diploma in Graphic
Seyyedi attended some courses at Iranian Youth Cinema Society of Rasht in
northern part of Iran and then directed several short movies. He made his movie
debut with ‘A Piece of Bread’ (2004), directed by Kamal
His directing of short movies, including ’35 Meters Below
Sea Level’ and ‘Blue Tooth’, earned him several awards at Tehran International
Short Film Festival. He also directed his first long movie ‘Africa’
in 2010. Seyyedi, who was the writer as well as editor of ‘Africa’,
managed to receive an award for Best Movie in video works section of the 29 Fajr
International Film Festival.
He has participated in several movies,
Wednesday’ (2005), ‘Barefoot in Heaven’ (2005), ‘He Who Goes to
Sea’ (2006), ‘The Wound on Eve’s Shoulder’ (2007), ‘The Freeway’ (2010), ‘Thirteen’
(2012), ‘The Exclusive Line’ (2013), ‘Confessions
of My Dangerous Mind’ (2014), ‘Buffalo’ (2014), ‘I am Diego
Maradona’ (2014), ‘Sleep Bridge’ (2015) and ‘Profiles’ (2015).Seyyedi has also
taken part in various TV series such as ‘Never-ending Road’ (2006), ‘The 30th
Day’ (2011), ‘Up to the Sky/ Ta Soraya’ (2011) and ‘Love Town/Mehrabad’ (2012)..
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