Unfamiliar culture of a closed country  閉ざされた国の意外な文化―古い歴史もつイラン映画―


"A Man Called Pirate", a nonfiction novel written by Naoki Hyakuta (published by Kodansha), has drawn a wide attention in Japan recently. It won the “Honya Taisho (bookseller’s grand prize)” chosen by voting by booksellers across the country. The writer depicted the life of Sazo Idemitsu, the founder of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., who stood against the world out of his patriotic pride in the closed oil industry after World War II. Inspired by the president’s courageous decision, his men braved the Western powers’ ban on oil trade with Iran to push ahead with difficult negotiations for oil imports from the country. Their struggle has grabbed the readers’ heart and mind.


今、『海賊と呼ばれた男』(講談社 百田尚樹)と題する本が本屋大賞を受賞するなど、巷で人気を博している。この本は第2次世界大戦後の閉鎖的な石油業界の中で、母国愛を背に世界へと立ち向かった出光興産の創業者、出光佐三をモデルにしたノンフィクション小説。欧米列強がイランとの原油取引を禁止するなか、勇敢な社長の決断の下、困難とも言われたイランとの交渉を始める男たちの姿が読者の心を掴んでやまない。



Iran, the main stage of this novel, is apt to be seen as a closed country governed by strict Muslim faith that sometimes troubles the rest of the world with its go-it-alone policies such as nuclear development. Yet the country is highly reputed for its movie industry. It is not rare for an Iranian movie to win a prize at a foreign film festival. In fact, the country’s movie industry has a long history. Its first film was produced in 1900, only five years after the cinematograph was invented by France’s Lumière brothers in 1895.


さて、この小説の重要な舞台となっている国、イラン。中東に位置するこの厳格なイスラム国家は、核開発問題などで何かと世界を騒がせており、閉ざされた国というイメージが先行しがちだ。そんな国でも世界的に評価が高いのが映画だ。イラン映画は海外映画祭などにも出展され、賞を受賞することも珍しいことではない。その歴史は古く、イランで初めて映画が制作されたのが1900年。フランスのリュミエール兄弟が映画を発明したのが 1895年であるから、イランへ伝わったのはわずか5年後のことだ。


Movie directors face hard situation/厳しい環境に置かれる映画監督


That first Iranian movie was made under the orders of the shah (title given to the hereditary monarch in Persia). It was said to have described Shah Pahlavi’s tour of European countries. Some records say that the film included scenes of his private life and religious ceremonies. Unfortunately, however, none of its footage remains today.





  Despite such a long history of the industry, the situation in the country has undergone a sea change. Movie directors have been faced with tough times since the 1979 revolution turned Iran into a strict Islamic country. When a film is judged by a court to be dissident, its director is punished and banned from making any new films. In the worst case, he can even be jailed. In other cases, he is forbidden to write a story, travel abroad or appear in the media.





  Nonetheless, good movies continue to be produced in the country. Why? Asghar Farhādī, the movie director who won the Silver Bear (best director) prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2009, answered the question. Speaking in a magazine interview about the difficulty of film making in Iran, he said, “Some restrictions make it hard for me to have the freedom of expression. But I can produce a movie I would like to make in my country depending on how I do it.”



  This writer’s experiences in Iran tell that Iranian people study hard. A local university student majoring in movie who worked as a tour guide asked me with twinkling eyes, “Haven’t you seen Kurosawa’s movies? I’m speaking of his ‘Seven Samurai’! Kurosawa is a genius. He is my hero. I saw all of his movies that had been played in here.” Not having seen any of the Kurosawa works, I got lost for words. The Iranian student mentioned Yasujiro Ozu and Hayao Miyazaki as well.





  Iranian movies are not familiar to us Japanese. Some of them produced in a unique Iranian style are difficult to understand. But there are many others which you may find good and interesting. Why don’t you try to see one and think about that remote unfamiliar Middle Eastern country?





Written By : Masashi Takinose



BRUTUSアカデミー賞受賞監督に聞いた、イランの知られざる映画事情。  #xbrand http://xbrand.yahoo.co.jp/category/entertainment/8438/1.html