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Bahman Farmanara: Iranian Cinema faces two main problems. I can’t work on a project without considering music for it.




At a ceremony arranged to mark 40 years of his collaboration with Ahmad Pezhman on film musical score, Bahman Farmanara said: “Unfortunately some film directors use music only to cover poor sound effects.”
Speaking in the evening of May 4, 2011 at Seifollah Daad Hall of the House of Cinema, the veteran director said: “Ahmad Pezhman spent the greatest part of his career composing music that was not intended to be used in films. Music suffers in cinema because it has to serve the story and the film director.”
Farmanara pointed two major problems in cinema and said: “When you tell a producer you wish to base your film on a novel, he asks you to change the story so that he won’t have to pay the copyright. The problem is marked in music. When a director contacts a composer after seven months of shooting, it becomes clear that he has not thought about the music for the film.”
The director of “Smell of Camphor, Scent of Lilac” said: “I can not think on a project without considering music for it, as music affects people much faster.”
Considering his collaboration with Ahmad Pezhman, he said: “You may have worked with many people who are good in their own right. But artists like Ahmad Pezhman, with whom you can have good social relations, are rare.”
In continuation of the program which had been arranged by the Center for Film Composers, Farmanara said in response to the question of why he had not yet left Iran: “Years ago I had travelled to London and someone had asked why I was living in Iran. I answered `What do you do when your child has a fever? Do you leave him or stay at his bedside?’ I feel the same about Iran.”
In continuation, Ahmad Pezhman said: “When I started my work in music, there was an unsettled state in this art. I used to wonder if our music would ever attain the international status of Mozart and Beethoven’s music. I wished to compose music that could have international status. That was the time when I was learning musical theory and tried to compose music.”
In response to the question why he did not use all the musical techniques he had learn in his music, he said: “We learn the techniques to use them whenever they can be useful. We should not try to show off our techniques in a single composition. I may enjoy the sound of nay (flute) much letter than a whole orchestra in a certain composition, but what is important is the spirit of the music and the fact that it has to serve a film.”
Criticizing people who pay no attention to the views of the director and the trend of the film in composing, he said: “Some composers and students of music who have learnt only the theories, say filmmakers do not understand music and we have to do our job the way it is correct. I don’t endorse this view at all.”
Concerning his collaboration with Farmanara, he said: “Farmanara thinks about the music before he starts work. Before starting to shoot “Smell of Camphor, Scent of Lilac” he showed me a model of a kamanche (violin) and said that he wished it to be used in this film.”
He believed the feelings aroused by live performance was very important for a film and explained: “You can never create the feelings created through live performance with electronic music. I have to use a performer for my music. There are moments in the film when the feelings are very important and that is when you should use live music.”
Ahmad Pezhman concluded his speech by talking about his presence in Iran. He said: “Farmanara is one of the people who made me return to Iran. We Iranians are too deeply attached to our culture to be able to live abroad. There were many artists who  left Iran, but could not work as energetically as they did in Iran. I believe the inspirations for people like us are inside the country.”
Mohammad Sarir, director of the Iranian Society of Film Composers, called Ahmad Pezhman one of the best film music composers. He Said: “Going over the past 40 or 50 years, we will notice Ahmad Pezhman is one of the most prominent artists who film music.”
He also considered that Farmanara possesses a special outlook. He said: “Farmanara is among those Iranian filmmakers who create few but outstanding works. He has always had a special view and tried to raise his work to the highest level. He has a good grasp of music, while many directors consider music as only a spice for the film.”
During the ceremony honoring 40 years of collaboration between Bahman Farmanara and Ahmad Pezhman, sequences from the films “Tall Shadows of the Wind”, “Smell of Camphor, Scent of Lilac”, “House on Water” and “A Little Kiss” were screened.

 

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