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Then there’s the political uncertainty, which looms over Iran as the country prepares for presidential elections next month.
Memories still linger of the government’s clampdown on activists who disputed the results of the previous polls in 2008.
"But when I left the classroom, the principal asked me to try and understand the situation.” STORY: Cannes Q&A: ' The Past' Director Asghar Farhadi on Censorship in Iran, Future Projects Things are pretty dire in Iran these days, Kiarostami said.
Speaking through an interpreter (despite being fluent in English), he described how the spiraling economy has seen people struggling for survival, with some of his students unable to pay their tuition fees.
“It is like a nightmare -- it’s like you’re in a dream and your communication with the outside world has been turned off.” FILM REVIEW: Like Someone in Love Still, Kiaostami’s passion for these foreign forays is embodied in an oil painting shown and discussed in (1900), which was the result of the Japanese artist’s experiences abroad -- including a spell examining impressionism in Europe -- and then returning to his home country to produce what the Iranian filmmaker described as “the first-ever traditional Japanese painting painted with Western techniques.” (Kiarostami himself is also a seasoned visual artist and photographer: He arrived in Hong Kong to launch a photographic exhibition in a local gallery and also take part in a panel discussion at Art Basel’s Hong Kong showcase.) “The painting is a justification of my own position, and [a reminder] that my own roots should not be a limit for my passions -- you should look around for other ways,” he said.
Kiarostami said he doesn’t have high hopes of making films in Iran in the near future because of the state of his nation, adding that Iranian cinema is now valued in ways he is not comfortable with.
Speaking of he said personal problems can sometimes be revealing of a wider social malaise.
“Once you are unable to solve your internal problems, they pour out into the streets,” he said.
And he wasn't willing to speak about Panahi either.Without referring to specific political events or figures, Kiarostami said the situation in Iran has "never been this dark.” He added: “And we have huge question marks in front of us now -- some miracles should happen in Iran to save the nation." The director expressed hope that the upcoming presidential elections will bring about the miracle he is hoping for.