The National: Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad goes full circle with Tales
She is one of the Arab world’s best-known and best-loved directors, renowned for her humane and socially conscious storytelling, but for the past eight years Rakhshan Bani-Etemad has not released a fiction feature.
This was partly an artistic choice, as Bani-Etemad, known also as the First Lady of Iranian Cinema, turned in two documentaries in those years. But it was largely circumstance: Tales, the 15th feature of a three-decade career, has been sitting on the shelf since 2011. It was only when there was an easing of regulations at The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, following the election of President Hassan Rouhani last summer, that Bani-Etemad gained approval to put the film on screens.
“Within the last year we saw the people who are now responsible for filmmakers have a different way of thinking,” the director explains, following the movie’s regional premiere at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. “This gives us hope that conditions are now different, and now it’s more [possible] to make the films I want to make.
“The situation is complicated – at the same time there are pressure groups opposing all these liberties, and there is a continuing conflict between all these groups.”
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