News ID: 190548
Publish Date: 19 January 2009 - 07:41
The history has shown that we, Iranians, have never sought and liked war. And after entrance of Islam to Iran, we never started this destructive phenomenon. Western people consider war as an undeniable phenomenon. They claim that war is an essential and undeniable event that human is not able to procrastinate over it. And it is interesting that the thinkers who have anti-war thoughts accept that war is undeniable while they believe that human is able to decrease the amount of destructions as medicines decrease the effects of sickness. This view emphasizes on the fact that man is not responsible for his actions and consequently for war.
The history has shown that we, Iranians, have never sought and liked war. And after entrance of Islam to Iran, we never started this destructive phenomenon. Western people consider war as an undeniable phenomenon. They claim that war is an essential and undeniable event that human is not able to procrastinate over it. And it is interesting that the thinkers who have anti-war thoughts accept that war is undeniable while they believe that human is able to decrease the amount of destructions as medicines decrease the effects of sickness. This view emphasizes on the fact that man is not responsible for his actions and consequently for war.

By philosophizing their key concepts including war, Western thinkers and politicians have allowed themselves to attack the land of any country as an aggressive nation at any time and in any situation. They grant themselves an endless right in this regard. In the most optimistic situation and following studying roots of war, they come to the result that appearance of war is either rooted in biology of man or has cultural roots or mental reasoning causes this phenomenon. Such theories describe man instinctively as warlike and greedy. That is why we see the face of westerns as an accepted face in start of war and destructions during the history, after the World War II in particular.

From one side, westerns influenced public opinions and from the other side, they put people under information bombardment. And finally they made people believe that start of war by them is an undeniable and essential issue by cultural attacks to different nations. With such reasoning, they evade the responsibility of millions of dead and homeless people from themselves. Even Freud expresses his beliefs about war with his special formula and sees the root of war in the instinct of death inside human.
In a general view, we find out that all these views raise form a non-divine and inappropriate source. And the nations that claimed to be dominant on the word with such way of thinking were eliminated from the scene of history.

Dostoevsky has written a brilliant sentence in the 4th chapter of “The Brothers Karamazov”? Novel. It is not bad to review this sentence here. As for hereditary barbarism of human, Dostoevsky writes as follows: “This is just being his defenseless that tempts the torturer, only the courage of a child that has no support and no one to trust in. And they pour his blood on the fire. There is however an animal hidden inside the instinct of a man, an animal who likes anger and lust. This animal is responsible for sicknesses such as violence, gout and kidney diseases and similar illnesses.

The fact that Dostoevsky expresses being defenseless as the result of tempting the torturer to attack can be completely studied. By a comparative view to historical situation of Islamic Revolution till war, we find out this issue. The Iraq that saw Iran under sanctions and involved in domestic issues and meanwhile Iraq was aware of our nation’s historical experience in losing the vast land of Iran during history, this country desired to attack Iran Country and occupy it; then it sent the first missiles on heads of innocent people of Khoramshahr City.
Westerns were happy since the first days of war. They hoped that Iranian nation would be eliminated from the scene of history and the historical memory of this nation would be erased by dividing this country into several parts; but this apparent defenseless nation which was involved in domestic issues after Islamic Revolution followed Imam Hossein (Aashoura’s flag holder) and had a different look to belief, jihad and martyrdom. This way Iranian nation strongly replied to these aggressive attacks of Iraqis such that their effects would remain on foreheads of western countries and the governments which supported Iraq.
This event showed that we believe in divine issues. And despite denying war, we spare no efforts and self sacrifice to defend our religion, respect and reputation as well as chastity.

As modern and widespread media, cinema and theatre have changed into two of most important media in every country. And war cinema and theatre are of most important genres in art of countries which have experienced war in some way; the countries which have tasted the bitterness of destructive effects of war; but we consider this genre as a completely Iranianized genre. We don’t have the war cinema in the art of our country with the concept which is known in the world. We consider cinema and theatre in this genre as a divine and holy thought which was formed in the atmosphere of defending our homeland.
The cinema that the world has experienced that mentions it as an example is the cinema containing films such as “The Enemy at the Gates”? (Jean-Jacques Annaud), “Apocalypse Now”? (Francis Ford Coppola) and “Full Metal Jacket”? (Stanley Kubric).
These are samples of masterpieces in war cinema which established fundamental changes in the world’s cinema; but when we search for the reason why such films were made, we find out warlike and causing violence in their deep inside. Maybe the reason that our film makers have not become global is this elegant point that we obey principles that westerns do not pay attention to them. Our film makers have made strong films such as “From Karkheh to Rhine”?, “Majnoon”?, “and Journey to Chazzabeh”? and even more influential film such as “Glass Agency”?; hence, the credit of our cinema is however a creditable cinema based on our own principles.

This issue of “Shahed Andisheh”? Quarterly Magazine has focused on the subjects of self sacrifice and martyrdom in the art of sacred defense theatres and cinema. This magazine is about current issues in this field. Our sacred defense cinema has faced with different problems and challenges during recent years. By studying and explaining current problems, there would be a solution found for this important medium; because transferring values such as self sacrifice and martyrdom and the spirit of defending our reputation and respect, religion and chastity and homeland is one of the most important revolutionary and Islamic commands of us as Iranian people. And we should pay more attention to these issues.

Status of Sacred Defense Cinema and Transferring Values from the Point of View of Experts

We should call sacred defense cinema as the most important genre of cinema after Islamic Revolution; because it is full reflecting mirror for the events that occurred in our revolutionary and Islamic society. The first war film in Iran’s cinema which was made some months after beginning of war was not very similar to what was really happening in battle fields. This film was actually made copying action films. These events were repeated in many Iranian war films too. They were exciting films which were rarely acceptable.

Directors of these films neither knew war properly, nor even cinema. At this period of time some young people who had learned film making in battle fields entered film making scene. They were talented people and could change the path of war cinema after practicing and making some amateur films. The films “Flight at Night”?, “The Watchman”?, “Mohajer”?, “Kimia”?, “From Karkheh to Rhine”?, “and Journey to Chazzabeh”? and some other films made an identification card for sacred defense cinema. This type of cinema had lots of ups and downs during years. And it seems that it is now far from its golden time; but we can still witness making good films such as “The Third Day”?. Spirit of self sacrifice and martyrdom and defending our homeland is clearly observed in this film.
In an interview with some experts of cinema, “Shahed Andisheh”? Quarterly Magazine has studied the situation of sacred defense cinema and transferring values. You can read the interviews as follows:

Jamal Shourjeh, Film Director, Film Script Writer:

We have neglected sacred defense objectives and ideals. Sacred defense cinema has been neglected. This cinema has not been able to express realities of resistance to the aggression of a stranger country against our homeland as it should. We have not yet been able to say required words and express the epics of that period of time in the framework of cinema; the epics and words which indicate self sacrifice, inner knowledge, spirituality and honesty of our compatriots. People from far villages or university students all were united and fought against the enemy; but we have not even pictured small parts of this epic.
Despite the fact that 8 years of sacred defense is a period of time that we remind it as a glorious time and while we have passed through the largest sanctions in war time, unfortunately our film makers have not yet been able to present an appropriate picture from that glorious time for those people who have not experienced that period of time.
It seems that sacred defense film makers are concerned in other things now. It seems that worries are not worries of our combatants anymore. And these issues have become personal and group issues. There are not many people who work for spiritual values. We will reach to positive results in this field if the government supports sacred defense cinema appropriately and “Association of Sacred Defense Cinema”?, “Center of Dissemination of Sacred Defense Works”? and other related foundations are more active in this field. We witnessed completely propagating and epic films during war. They rarely had artistic aspects.

And a wrong thought was formed after war. Some people thought that they should express untold stories of war in an exaggerated way. Unfortunately, no one has paid attention to the reality that preserving the spirit of being revolutionary, seeking for justice and fighting with cruelty plays a vital role for a nation. I believe that we will not achieve our artistic objectives in the field of sacred defense cinema by the time these key concepts are not established in sacred defense cinema.

Mohammad Kazem Masoumi, Producer, Film Director and Film Script Writer:

Critics should defend film directors. The situation of sacred defense cinema is very complicated; because policies for making films in the filed of sacred defense cinema have not changed and they are as they were in past. This type of cinema can not have a considerable growth by the time the ruling on this cinema is not changed. The points of view of film makers who work in the field of sacred defense cinema should be changed considering passing a long time after finishing war and also the situation of people’s lives.
This will happen when film script writers and film directors have the freedom of speech. This “Freedom of Speech”? might have been legally defined for us; but in action, facilities are provided to the people who ignore this freedom.
Unfortunately, there are some people in our cinema who think that they are owners of war. It seems that our people did not make any efforts during war and did not fight. This idea is not true at all. Our people with any ideas and religions stood against Ba’thi Regime and devoted their lives to defending our country; but now some people have come and give the whole rights to them. Sacred defense will not progress by the time such type of thinking is ruling in our cinema. I made the Film “The Big Drum under the Left Foot”? in a very hard situation; because I wanted to show my taste and view in that film. Unfortunately, you should fight if you want to make a film in this field with an independent look. You should fight since the time of production till the time that film is screened unless your film will fail.
Meanwhile, the support of critics and newspapers for the made film in this field is of high importance. They can be good backings for sacred defense cinema and cinema industry in general if they analyze and criticize films well.

Nasser Shafagh, Film Script Writer and Film Director:

We require paving suitable grounds. General status of sacred defense cinema is influenced by general status of our cinema. And considering current unfavorable situation of our cinema, these problems are observed in the field of sacred defense cinema too. The film makers who are active in this field can not continue their works without considerable supports.

Sacred defense cinema requires paving suitable grounds for making films. We will not succeed by the time it does not happen. Cultural officials should support this field more seriously; it means all organizations including Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Farabi Cinematic Foundation and also military organizations should provide required facilities for making films in this field.
I believe that the more we pay attention to sacred defense cinema, the less it is. Every day is “Sacred Defense Day”?. We faced two great events after Islamic Revolution. The first one was the victory of Islamic Revolution and the second one was the sacred defense. And I believe that these events had a wonderful effect on the world. Our Islamic Revolution and sacred defense were great lessons for humanity.

Shahed Andisheh- Cultural and Research Quarterly Magazine

If we however want to focus on this issue more deeply, we find out that our sacred defense cinema has not been able to reflect realities and events of war for the young generation as it should. It is right that sacred defense is higher, sweeter and kinder than all this; but unfortunately our film makers have not reached to this truth.

Rahim Hosseini, film Director:

Today the appearance of sacred defense cinema is paid attention. The atmosphere of this type of cinema will certainly become better than today if cultural officials of the country decide to organize and improve it. The film makers who want to make films in this film should be supported. We face two types of film makers in this field; one group of film makers are those who have been active in this field since past. And this group is continuing activity in this field at the present time too. The other group consists of film makers who decide to join the first group and experience film making in this field. Unfortunately, it only appears that sacred defense is paid attention at the present time; but in fact this type of cinema is not in center of attention. Sometimes some organizations become responsible for sacred defense cinema; it means that only the organizations that are responsible for sacred defense field move towards sacred defense cinema. And other organizations and officials have forgotten sacred defense cinema.

Facilities of sacred defense cinema are very limited. And we lack lots of things in this regard. I have worked in this field; and I know that you can not continue working in this field if there are no love and motivation. The situation of working in this field is very hard. Making a film in an apartment is certainly much easier than making a film in war atmosphere and its particular locations. You will not certainly find a supporter and producer if you want to make a different film in this field. And it goes back to cultural management in our country too. And we will not witness fundamental changes in the field of sacred defense film making if the cultural officials do not make serious decisions.

Rakhshan Bani E’temad, Film Director:

During recent years, sacred defense is studied from more angles. The more we get far from sacred defense time which was full of ups and downs, the number of films which are made with the subject of sacred defense increases. I believe that one of the most important reasons of this phenomenon is the change of look in film directors about sacred defense cinema. During the 8 years of sacred defense, the number of films made in this field increased. It was while most of concepts were mottos and aimed at creating the spirit of resistance. And very few films were important and noticeable as far as artistic aspects are concerned. If we focus on films in that period of time, we find out that action films became very popular at that time; but following the change in approach and views about sacred defense cinema during recent years, more angles of sacred defense were pictured for audiences; hence, we witness that the subject of majority of films has changed into the subject of imposed war, self sacrifice and martyrdom.

Khosrow Sinaee, Film Script Writer and Film Director:

Our film makers had an adventurous view to war during sacred defense time. War changes and makes the destiny of every country. And if this war has national and divine aspects, consequently art will be influenced by it in. and among arts, cinema is a very influential medium in every country which affects people’s thoughts and opinions; hence, when we speak about war and cinema in our country it is natural that subjects such as bravery, seeking for martyrdom and self sacrifice find new meanings. And in one way, film makers make the history in order to show the realities of war.

There are many war films made in the world. And only few of them express humanitarian and divine values of combatants. In this respect, we can refer to the films made by William Wyler and Frank Capra. They made many everlasting films in this field. The art of cinema has a general characteristic. And that is the fact that every film maker unconsciously transfers his views and opinions in his/her film.
Many of our film directors have chosen a flexible subject like war; because it requires lost of action. And the film maker is free to create action films full of adventurous scenes. Meanwhile, some film makers have tried to have a more peaceful look at war. They mainly show war as a destructive and sorrowful phenomenon.
Within a research, we can come to the result that there were two movements in our sacred defense cinema. These movements show that we were willing to make action films full of adventures during war. And later we moved towards peaceful films in which destructive effects of war were pictured for the audiences.
Considering these facts, we can come to the result that war cinema is a full reflecting mirror of a society in every country which has experienced war or is experiencing war at the present time.

Habibollah Bahmani, Film Director and Film Script Writer:

We cannot express our ordinary concepts in cinematic language. If we want to look at the situation of sacred defense cinema, we should say that there were three groups of film makers: one group consisted of the generation of war. They were present in battle fields and closely witnessed self sacrifice and braveries of combatants. The other group consisted of people who were present in back of battle fields. They were active during war and were concerned in war issues. And the third group consisted of people who kept themselves totally far from war. They started disagreeing with war since that time. They disagreed either with Islamic Revolution or they did not totally like Islamic Revolution and war. However, these three different groups (Movements) would make films in three different ways if they want to make films.
Now if we want to take a comparative look to Iranian and foreign films, we really come to the result that we can not express our ordinary concepts in cinematic language. For instance, Tarkovski is one of the film makers who have made war film. He has made an influential film under the title of “Ivan’s Childhood”?. This film is a very strong film in the history of cinema. The concept of self sacrifice has been shown in this film in an appropriate way; but there are no considerable films in our cinema which can compete with this film. I believe that it goes back to the fact that our film makers have not been actually involved with the concept of self sacrifice and martyrdom in order to be able to make an everlasting film which remains on minds. We have not studied martyrdom of commanders, brigadier generals, army commanders, combatants, shooters and ordinary people in battle fields much enough. And consequently we can not transfer these realities in films. I remember that I studied memories of combatants some time ago. Pity even few of those realities have not been shown in our films.

Character Change Process in Sacred Defense Films
Seyed Ahmad Mir Ehsan

We have witnessed numerous events in contemporary history of Iran. And victory of Islamic Revolution and the imposed war are the most important events during the contemporary history of Iran. Following start of war and sacred defense, the atmosphere of the society and people’s spirit were considerably changed. And this change was reflected in culture and art of the country well. Cinema had already experienced different changes after victory of Islamic Revolution. And it faced a new genre after start of war; a genre that is known as sacred defense cinema at the present time.
We can courageously say that sacred defense cinema is a new and original genre in cinema after Islamic Revolution which reflects well the atmosphere of the society during war years and the years after in its characters. When we speak about “Character”? in sacred defense films, we should study the films in this genre in a historical process; because characterization and the changes which are made in the structure of social life of combatants during post war years are inseparable from the structure of sacred defense films.
Two types of sacred defense films were formed during the first years. One of them was a changed form of cinema before Islamic Revolution. Characterization in these types of films was artificial and lacked credit; because third class and fourth class of similar characters could be seen in Hollywood films during that decade.
The nature of this type of cinema had no original form and exterior appearance.

The second type consisted of films in which their characters were idealistic characters. They were highly influenced by the descriptions that combatants, young “Basiji”? people in particular, gave about war (Basiji people were volunteer forces in battle fields). These young people had the same view to war that Hazrat Imam Khomeini had; it was a view that was mixed with mysticism and epic.

Among the people who went to battle fields, there were some who were sent to war by force. But the characters which were shown in films had idealistic look to war and battle field; while the truth was something else. In such films the characters of a “Basiji”? person was identified merely as a person with epic and mystic objectives. That was why these combatants were very different from war champions in western films. They were special people who considered battle field as a place in which they purify their souls. They considered this war as a field of divine test. The best example of such characters can be observed in works of Martyr Avini’s documentary films. These characters were later copied in other films too.
This documentary film, u1575 had direct relation with battle fields and war. And it was considered as a good model for others.
There are few people like “Hatami Kia”? among the film makers during those years. Such film makers were inspired by the people around them due to being present in battle fields and having direct relations with war. The people around them were ideal examples of sacred defense characters. This group of film makers who were closely familiar with the atmosphere of battle fields and had seen the real picture of self sacrifice and martyrdom in combatants made pictures from battle fields that were mixed with those mentioned idealistic imaginations. These film makers believed that sacred defense had a sacred nature and essence. And this point of view affected the whole structure of their films.
When we get close to the end of war, different views about war are formed, especially the views that sought for peace after freeing “Khoramshahr”?.
Considering inner changes in the society and even the changes which were made among revolutionary people and the artists who had risen from the heart of Islamic Revolution, new characters were formed in sacred defense cinema; these new characters were damaged people who faced a new world when they returned from war. It was the world in which capital, business and dealing were ruling.

People of this world had worn an apparent mask on their faces. They used Islamic ideals and objectives in a false way for their own benefits. Characters opposing to this social phenomenon are formed in the films in this period of time in the Film “Union of the Good People”?, “Mohsen Makhmalbaf”? wants to show this change and new atmosphere and champion by changing two boards on cinemas; that is why new champions appear in a framework of complaint. Parallel with this movement, there is still a movement which narrates sacred defense values.
It is the movement that film directors such as “Molla Gholi-pour”? and “Hatami Kia”? are continuing. This process is still continuing until the time that war finishes and crises of the 8 years of sacred defense appear in the society and in young and old people of the society. Characters in the films which are made in this period of time are even criticized. In these films the outside atmosphere of the society, social system which face with heritages of battle fields and even the people who had been in battle fields and were former champions are criticized. We find out all these criticisms when we watch films made by “Molla Gholi-pour”? and “Hatami Kia”?. In the Film “Glass Agency”?, both outside atmosphere of the society and people are criticized.
In the Film “The Dead Wave”?, Hatami Kia pictures one-dimensional characters that did not pay attention to other realities. This film shows reaching to a dead end in the social situation of postwar time and also the terrible situation of combatants who returned from battled fields or they were wandering in cities. They were ready to do anything in order to earn money and make a living. They are even ready to go to abroad in order to earn money. Such characters can be seen in the Film “Low Height”? made by “Hatami Kia”? and the Film “Father Farm”? made by “Molla Gholi-pour”? and other films. Just the opposite to the holy champion in the Film “Hour in Fire”?, we face with other types of champions who have idealistic objectives and think that they have the right to complain to every thing because of their independence.
This criticism and complaint to sacred defense issues and damages of war in the society however increase by characters in films little by little and expands in all fields.
Such criticisms and complaints spread in social system judgment which inherited Islamic Revolution and the poured blood as well as thoughts and behaviors of people that could not be criticized as holy characters during a particular period of time. This process however continues till we witness its example in the Film “The Big Drum under the Left Foot”?. Although this film is made in a theatre atmosphere it is very excellent. This film has cinematic values while at the same time it has a very criticizing look to issues.
Except “Molla Qolipour”? and “Hatami Kia”? who had gained the right of criticizing due to being in battle fields, we face with a new generation of film makers today. We can call this generation as intellectual film makers who make films for battle fields and war. And they have different understanding from this event.

In the Film “Reward for Silence”?, we face with deep layers which are in fact a kind of suffering of human’s conscience. This type of understanding is considered as a kind of radical anti-war look. Although the film was not made well it spoke about changes of characters.
The important point (u1603) that should be referred is the fact that our cinema is highly influenced and controlled by the government. The government gives the right to itself to spend budget for its objectives and values; hence, as for the sacred defense cinema, the government invests on the films which have positive look to war.

The government spent a large amount of budget for some films such as “Duel”? and did not achieve good results. “Duel”? had lots of problems in its film script. This film tried to create a kind of conflict and present a sarcastic atmosphere; but it was never successful.
From the other side, we see that the film directors are chosen to make war films that have no inner and tangible relations with details of battle fields; so, they make very bad films. Such films have no real aspect in relation with modern views and post modern understandings.
“Arash Moayyerian”? did not make a good film in 2006; while the number of war films increased considerably in this year. We should not however ignore such films; but there are some films like “The Night Bus”? which are made in today’s atmosphere; it means that Saddam’s government has been eliminated and has been replaced by a friend government. And we face new mottos regarding characterization in these films.
The official politic likes that friendly relations are established between Iranian and Iraqi people; so, a film based on relationship with the nation of Iraq is made. It was a film which was impossible to be made in past years.
The Film “The Big Drum under the Left Foot”? was made before “The Bus Night”? and based on this type of view. We should not however act in linear way in making sacred defense films; because this way we do not help reaching our objectives; besides, we will damage it.
It however seems that process of change in cinema has been parallel with social changes. Although it was a slow movement, considering the atmosphere of our society, this change is completely reasonable and acceptable.

Necessities of Paying Attention to Drama
Tahmaseb Solh-jou, Critic

The First Chapter:
During War

What is considered as “Sacred Defense Cinema”? is a cinematic genre. This cinematic genre does not have a long history in the history of Iran’s cinema. And the reason is merely the fact that an event under the name of “War”? had not occurred during recent century; it means that war had not occurred since appearance of “Cinema”?. Therefore, no films were made about war in Iran.
Some war films came to Iran from America and Europe before Islamic Revolution. And since some of them were welcomed by people, few Iranian film makers tried to experience this cinematic genre; it means they tried to make films with the same attractions of war cinema. There were however few films made in the field of war before Islamic Revolution.
As for these films; we can refer to “The Patriotic”? and another film named “Goodbye Tehran!”? made by Samuel Khachikian. Mohammad Din Parast further made a film under the name of “Conquerors of Desert”? in this genre.
Films with the subject of war were actually made before Islamic Revolution too; but melodrama films were the model for these films and they were copied from western films.
We can say that these films were made aiming at using the attraction of this type of cinema in order to attract audiences. After Islamic Revolution and when the war started, “Sacred Defense Genre”? was born in Iran. It meant that war was considered as an advantage for cinema; because it caused birth of “War Cinema”? in Iran. And in a historical look, we come to the result that the first film which was made in the genre of sacred defense was the Film “Border”? in 1981.
If we want to study war cinema, we need to consider two general periods of time. The first one goes back to war time in which war films were made. And the other one is related to the films which were made after acceptance of “Resolution 598 of UN Security Council”? by Iran. These two groups of films can be separated in some way.
The films that were made during war were naturally considerate films. The film makers actually tried to consider some particular issues; because at that time, sacred defense cinema aimed at encouraging people to go to battle fields and create an epic spirit among people. This type of cinema during that particular time tried to have an epic spirit and create champions. The face that was shown from the enemy was not basically a real face in the films particularly made at that time. Film makers tried to show the enemy as weak, abject and powerless. And Iranian forces were just in the opposite side. They were champions who had all virtues of champions. (u1607). And consequently, the films in this period of time were full of mottos; because they aimed at encouraging people to go to battle fields and defended their homelands. These films were however required for that particular historical period of time. We do not intend to discuss how appropriately these film makers acted in line with achieving their objectives. Today, the issue is the fact that the result of film making during war years is not considerable. War and sacred defense cinema was supervised by governmental foundation more than other genres of cinema at that time. Especially, military foundations and organizations controlled these films. And there was no other way. I remember that it was not possible for everyone to make films about war. Some particular people made films in this genre. And majority of them were “Basiji”? people. Meanwhile, sacred defense cinema caused a new generation to enter this field and make films. They were the people who had experienced battle fields in different ways or they had close relations with combatants in battle fields.
Here we face an issue. And that is the fact that the film makers who had direct experiences from the atmosphere of battle fields should have certainly shown more realistic pictures about battle field and war in cinema; but here we face the most important subject of sacred defense cinema. Since this phase we actually enter “Cinema”?. In order to define the difference between “Reality”? and “Cinema”? appropriately, we should refer to the fact that it is right that cinema is inspired by the reality but it has very special differences with reality. I make it clear by an example; all people of the world believe that war is not a good phenomenon at all. And it does not bring any thing for the society except destructions, sufferings and death. We can not actually find a person who likes war. In contrast with this reality, war cinema is the genre that is liked and welcomed by people. It means that the people from all around the world who disagree war, like the cinema in this genre. They enjoy watching exciting moments in a war film and they like to watch picture of war in cinema.
You see that it is a contradiction in this example. Why do people enjoy watching war scenes or reading war novels if they dislike war? I believe that the answer is the fact that the world of drama is different from reality. Not all people who have experienced reality can be necessarily successful in the field of drama (u1606).
Although drama is inspired by the reality of outside world, the world of drama has actually its own special reality. A dramatic work naturally tries to show the outside reality; but it is completely different with the real world.
That is why the people who had experienced war and did not have enough knowledge about drama could not create considerable works in this field.
In the history of sacred defense cinema, the films remained lasting which had strong dramatic structures. And we can name them as superior films in this field. Characterization which is one of the most important elements of drama is the most important thing that makes a film acceptable and attractive for audiences in “Sacred Defense Cinema”? and generally speaking in “Cinema”?. The audience is involved in a story and is influenced by it when he/she can believe characters of the story; but it is important to know that these believable people in films are not real; they are dramatic people.
What is the definition of “Dramatic Character”? and what basically occurs that a character is accepted as a “Dramatic Character”? are the issues that show the reason of why the films made in that period of time were not attractive and couldn’t communicate with audiences. And people did not believe the characters and stories in those films.
“White”? color does not naturally have dramatic attraction. And “Black”? is the opposite of “White”?. This color has no attraction on its own; but dramatic action and reaction is created when these two colors are put next to each other. Drama is basically like this example; it means that the audience can communicate with a film and dramatic work when that film can put contrasts next to each other.
A good and acceptable contrast will not be created in a war film in which one side is good, strong, powerful and intelligent; while the opposite side is weak and with no considerable characteristics; so the film loses attraction among audiences.
The situation shown in a film is attractive when characters of two sides are similar. Even famous film directors like “Hitchcock”? believe that “Drama is strong when evil is strong in it”?; therefore, one of the imperfections of sacred defense films is exactly formed here at this point. Due to lots of considerations, the film script writer had to look at the story just from one side. In “Sacred Defense Cinema”?, we need to focus on both sides of the war. We should pay attention to both positive and negative characters at the same time. In order to create and strengthen drama, both sides should be pictured properly and precisely. Sometimes the film makers may change the reality in order to create dramatic attractions for a film; it means that a good film script writer of sacred defense, or a good film maker in general, certainly acts based on this formula. And here there would be a different between the real events that have occurred and the results of this reality.
Many people say that war cinema can not show the real face of war. They consider this fact as one of the faults of sacred defense cinema and one of the problems of film makers.
But I believe that this fault is not a right fault; because such thing is not supposed to happen at all. We never picture the reality of a war which lasted 8 years; because a film maker who is making a film in about sacred defense, brings a part of the reality into drama in order to strength the drama; so if a real event which has occurred and its entrance into drama weakens the drama, it should be omitted; because the world of drama should have dramatic attractions.
The weakness of “Sacred Defense Cinema”? in the field of film script goes back to the fact that officials, policy makers and those who supervise on this genre, interfere without knowing the importance of drama. They support making simple films which are free from dramatic attractions. I don’t however negate the fact that sacred defense cinema exists in Iran in order to speak about sacred defense in one way. Sacred defense cinema aims at reminding braveries of combatants.
But I believe that expressing these concepts does not have any relations with dramatic expression of sacred defense at all. Here in “Drama”? we discuss about expressing realities of sacred defense in an appropriate way.
We have witnessed that good films have been made in this film. And holiness of battle field characters is shown well in these films. The Film “Glass Agency”? is a goof example for such films. Dramatic characterization is one of the attractions of this film. These characters entered the film with “Black”? and “White”? aspects of their characteristics. Haaj Kazem, the main character of the film seeks for justices in this film. He does the work which is not for his own benefit at all. He is devoting himself because of his friend. Haaj Kazem’s word is a completely reasonable and just word; but his action is unjust. He takes people as hostages who had not committed any sins. He further says: “You are my witnesses”?. This contradiction in the character of Haaj Kazem makes this character attractive. From the deep inside of this character, we find both innocence and oppression and also the social situation in which he lives. This character would not have dramatic attraction if Haaj Kazem was a person who always talked nice words, he was kind with everyone and didn’t annoy anyone even an ant.
“Hatami Kia”?, the director of this film actually uses this method in order to dramatize this character and make it close to audiences. “Hatami Kia”? was one of the film makers who were “Basiji”? and had experienced battle field and war closely. He was completely familiar with dramatic attractions at the same time. Since the first films that “Hatami Kia”? made in the field of sacred defense, he both wrote the scripts and directed them. He created dramatic characters well. This way, he made the atmosphere of his films attractive. We never have absolute “White”? or absolute “Black”? people in the films made by “Hatami Kia”?. It means that “Hatami Kia”? looks at subjects merely from the point of view of “Cinema”?. Besides, he never shows the face of the enemy clearly in his films. He always puts the enemy in a far place. War people in films made by “Hatami Kia”? reach to a point of testing themselves in battle fields. These people test themselves in fact.
The same process could be observed in the Film “Union of the Good People”? as one of the first sacred defense films of “Hatami Kia”?. There is a “Basiji”? character in this film. He was full of mottos. He was upset with people who had left the city. At the same time, this character has weak points too. He thinks that all people should be like him. There is another character in this film whose name is “Hossein”?. He is accidentally an idealistic character. Hossein disagrees with the main character of this film. Hossein tells him: “You should not celebrate your wedding in a city that is always under fire.”?
“Plaque”? is a very important element in the films of “Hatami Kia”?. It plays a symbolic role in fact. “Plaque”? is the symbol of a “Basiji”? person.
There is a scene in the Film “Union of the Good People”? in which the main character is neutralizing a missile that has hit the ground and did not explode. At this time the plaque which is around his neck has a contact with wires and causes a short circuit and increases the danger of its explosion. He tears the chain of the “Plaque”? annoyed and nervously and throws the “Plaque”? to a corner when he finds out his “Plaque”? has caused danger. He remembers the plaque after neutralizing the missile. He feels badly that he has made the “Plaque”? far from him. While it is holy for him; so he takes the hot plaque in his hand and it seems that he wants to punish himself in some way.
By watching such scenes, we find out that all characters in the films of “Hatami Kia”? have two positive and negative aspects. That is why these characters have dramatic attraction. And you will appropriately find out the meaning of war whenever you watch sacred defense films of this film director which were made in any period of time.
War people in the films of “Hatami Kia”? are people who argue with themselves in war fields. It seems this war is an interior war which is occurring. And we see the appearance in a war. These characters have fear, doubt, wishes and other characteristics of any man. This characteristic helps believing characters of battle fields and war.
In the previous example which was mentioned about the Film “Glass Agency”?, we don’t see the innocence of a combatant in the face of Haaj Kazem; but we see this innocent in the face of Abbas. But audiences laugh whenever Abbas talks in the film. It means that “Hatami Kia”? does not make an angel from the character of Abbas at all. It is while he includes the behavior and nature of being an angel in the nature of this character. Abbas doesn’t think that people owe him. He doesn’t want to annoy anyone either. At the same time, he accepts death. Although this character is very serious, the film director doesn’t impose him as a very serious character to audiences. These are dramatic characteristics that sacred defense cinema and any other types of cinema would not be believable for audiences if they lack such characteristics.

Second Chapter:
After War

The more we get far from war reality is replaced by imagination on minds. And it is influential in “Sacred Defense Cinema”? too. Besides, considerations of war time are eliminated little by little. And film makers find the opportunity to show characters and events with dramatic aspects in films. I believe that describing and showing faults and weaknesses of war and badness of that event by film makers will strengthen the dramatic part of sacred defense films. It means that sacred defense films will become more influential and lasting if film script writers and film directors face less governmental obstacles and supervisions on this group of films. In a more open atmosphere, film script writers and film makers will make better sacred defense films.

One of the problems of sacred defense films is the epic part of them. The film makers who intend to describe and show the epic aspect of war and introduce champions, present this “Champion”? as a character who enters the war field bravely because of his homeland and belief. This point of Iran’s cinema was always weak; because sacred defense film maker has not been able to introduce the enemy properly. “Sajjadeh Atash”? was the only film that used this characteristic well (Sajjadeh Atash means “Prayer Carpet of Fire”?. Sajjadeh is a piece of carpet or material on which Muslims say prayers and worship God.). We can courageously say that this film is the only film in which the face of enemy was pictured as a powerful and very brave face. And it doesn’t seem at all that “Sajjadeh Atash”? is a kind of remaking the “Epic of Rostam and Esfandyar”? (Epic of Rostam and Esfandyar is mentioned in Shahnameh based on an Old Iranian legend).

It is interesting to know that the commander of Iraq's Army was an old and experienced man (u1601). And a young “Basiji”? person is in front of him. This young “Basiji”? makes lost of efforts and carries out lots of activities to defeat this old commander; but the old man is cleverer than the young Iranian “Basiji”? person. He neutralizes the mines sooner. The conflict between these two characters gives meaning to the epic aspect of the film; the two characters who are both standing strongly with great determination. At the end of the film, we see that the young champion can defeat the Iraqi commander lonely and very hard. In such situation, the champion’s work is valuable for audiences.
I believe that ignoring dramatic attractions is the biggest weak point of Iran’s cinema, sacred defense cinema in particular. This weak point badly damages the epic aspect of the film in sacred defense cinema and basically decreases effectiveness of films in this genre.
It should be mentioned that the genre of sacred defense was one of the most successful genres in Fajr Film Festival in the years 1385 (2006-2007) and 1386 (2007-2008). It means that the best films had been made in this genre. And in addition to increasing the number of such films, the film directors had entered this field who had not experienced making sacred defense films in past.
But unfortunately, all made films were not good films; because they still suffered from the mentioned dramatic imperfections. For instance, “The Third Day”? which received the most awards suffers from this weakness too. This film has a very good story and subject; but the film director has not been able to lead this subject to a strong dramatic final point. The film starts with good introductory; but no favorable result is gained from this introductory.
The girl who has been left at home in this film is the symbol of the chastity of a nation. And all men want to rescue her.
But in order that characters of the film could rescue this girl, the film maker should have arranged very strong preparations. These men should rescue the girl in a way that the audiences would be persuaded. And no question should have been remained on minds of audiences. It seems that the film maker has acted naïvely in this part of the film. How is it possible that non-military people take this girl on their hands and rescue her through that heavy gunfire? It was while they had only few guns.
Except this film, the Film “Reward for Silence”? is a noticeable film as far as the subject, story, structure and characterization are concerned. There are two main characters in this film; one is played by “Parviz Parastouyee”? and the other one is played by “Jafar Vaali”?. We start a moral growth with these two main characters. We are moving in the world of war and see the society which now shows the side effects of war. Even secondary characters of the story are very strong as far as dramatic characterization and type of playing role are concerned. One of the secondary characters in this film is a commander whose role is played by “Reza Kianian”?. This character says a short sentence in the film and transfers all anxiety, fear and bitterness of war to audiences at that moment. This short sentence is: “Silence him!”?.
During the two past years, we however witnessed interesting and good changes i8n sacred defense cinema. As for one of these good points, we can refer to the attention of film script writers and film makers in this field paid to the literature of sacred defense and actually the written part of sacred defense.
I believe that a literary genre such as a novel or story requires to be dramatized in order to be changed into a film script. Even if a novel is very strong, some parts of it should be omitted in order to be written as a film script. And some parts should be added to this novel; unless an acceptable and strong film would be never made based on that. “Kioomars Pour Ahmad”? has made the Film “The Night Bus”? based on an adaptation of a story written by “Habib Ahmadzadeh”?. And it seems that the film was successful dramatically. Except this film, the Film “Reward of Silence”? was an adaptation of a story written by “Ahmad Dehghan”?.
In addition to the subject of “Drama”? and the necessity of noticing to dramatic attractions in sacred defense films, there is another issue which is essential for improvement of films in this genre. And that is the financial issue. Sacred defense cinema is an expensive cinema; it means that good films can not be made in this genre with limited facilities and little amount of capital.
This cinema naturally and basically requires large amount of capital unless the film makers in this field limit themselves to a particular type of this genre; but they require a large amount of investment if they want to develop this genre in all fields and make epic films full of adventures and show the face of war in a believable way. There are few films in this field that could show a believable picture from the scenes of war. For instance, the Film “Duel”? is the most expensive film in history of Iran’s cinema. Battle and war scenes were pictured well in this film; but still this amount of capital which was allocated to this film is very very little compared to the budget allocated for war films in the world. This film was made by “Ahmad Reza Darvish”?.
Or the films that “Rasoul Molla Gholi Pour”? makes and tries to show us the real world of war and picture believable scenes from war require a large amount of budget. Here, the film maker makes the most efforts and the most responsibilities are on shoulders of the film maker in this field such that most of films in the field of sacred defense are made with the determination and love of film makers for this subject.

Spiritual Insight of Actors Who Play the Roles of Martyrs and Combatants

Majid Mozaffari

Playing Role and the Concept of Self Sacrifice and Martyrdom

Generally speaking, playing roles in films, theatres, etc. is included in difficult jobs. And playing role in sacred defense films is more difficult than playing roles in other types of films. Suggested roles have special characteristics that either the actor/actress should make him/her close to the role or vice versa. It becomes difficult when an actor wants to play the role of a combatant as it is written in the film script. Self sacrifice and martyrdom are inseparable characteristics of our combatants during 8 years of sacred defense. And these characteristics are very important and critical which should be pictured in an appropriate and basic way. We don’t yet see these characteristics in films in a complete way as it should be. And there are many reasons for it. We should accept that our combatants had particular characteristics that reaching to them was not possible for everyone while they had earthly faces. As the first step, we should conduct vast researches about respected combatants if we want to picture self sacrifice and martyrdom characteristics in our combatants and if we want to show their real faces in films. To this end, biographies, wills, memories and friends of martyrs, war wounded and Isargaran can be considered as the first hand sources for this research.
Unfortunately, what is pictured in sacred defense films is very different from war realities. For instance, some film directors show Iraqis as weak people. Why the war between Iran and Iraq did last for 8 years if that is true? And after war everyone understood that many countries had helped Iraq to fight with us; so they were not weak. Our combatants devoted themselves and wished to be martyred. This way, they stood bravely against the aggression of Iraq. In fact, we question the value of combatants’ works and ignore their valuable self sacrifice when we show Iraqis as such weak people in our films. We should be more careful and precise when we want to show the real face of Iranian combatants.
Unfortunately, lots of negative propaganda is spread against our country and values nowadays. This propaganda is so vast that influence the group of young people who have not properly understood such concepts. Minds of today’s young people are full of questions. Hey want to know what the truth is. They want to know who tells right and who tells lie. When we say that many countries helped Iraq in war, we should show it in films. This way, the self sacrifice and martyrdom of combatants will become outstanding. (u1570)
What is shown in sacred defense films considerably differs from what we see in news and documentary films such as “Revayat-e Fat’h”? TV series made by Martyr Avini (Revayat-e Fat’h means narration of victory). The documentary TV series of “Revayat-e Fat’h”? was a unique masterpiece which showed the real faces of our combatants. We should refer more than before to such documentary films if we want to make a film in the genre of sacred defense today. Today, it is not time to focus on epic aspects of sacred defense; because war films automatically strengthen this sense in audiences. Today, we should picture truths of war. Self sacrifice and martyrdom are the truths that unfortunately are not clearly visible in films.
And the worst thing is the films that are made these days and they are never concerned in such concepts. Maybe we expected less from films during war years and the first years after war. And it was due to the atmosphere of the society in those years; but today, the country is in peace condition and we can make films more precisely and far from mottos. We still witness those mottos in films which were made during war; but these mottos are expressed in another form. This is while it is not for our benefit to look at war with such view. We should not question real values of combatants with our own hands. In this respect, we can not absolutely find the fault with actors; because the problem should be searches dome where else.
The actor can not play the role as he should when there is no good film script. Generally speaking, every actor/actress plays the roles as well as his/her professional thoughts and knowledge. For instance, you see an actor/actress who has played role in a film very weakly while he/she has a very strong and successful background in playing roles. And when you review the history of this film’s director, you find out that he/she has not had a good background. And it prevents successful playing role by the actor/actress.
But in some films, this is the actor/actress that improves the film, film script and the whole work of its crew.
Great men of the world's cinema say: When you work with young people, you can not come to a result beyond their thoughts.
The mistake that damaged Iran’s cinema a lot was the presence of young people who entered this field with no knowledge and backing. I believe that young people should be supported by a professional look if they want to be in a project. And it becomes more critical when we want to make a film with the subject of sacred defense. It is natural that a young person who has not seen war and is not familiar with its concepts as he/she should be, is weaker in presenting the atmosphere of war compared to a person who has spent a lifetime in battle fields and war and its atmosphere.
When you focus on films, you find out that most of war film actors were combatants in battle fields. They have seen martyrdom of their fiends with their own eyes. They have completely felt their self sacrifice. I don’t mean that such actors have been able to show this real feeling in films; but they were relatively more successful in this way.
Yes, we don’t need lots of research activities and referring to documentaries if we want to make a film based on imaginations and we want to show some war scenes; but when a film is made aiming at transferring the concepts of war, self sacrifice and martyrdom to audiences, a vital, important and precise work should be done.

Weaknesses and Shortages in Sacred Defense Cinema

As an actor, I always liked to play a role in war films and sacred defense films. I was always on the alert to accept playing role in a film which has a good film script with the subject of sacred defense. I would accept playing role in such film with no excuses. “Passing over the Mine”? was my first film in this field. The enemy which we fought with could be the enemy who had given dangerous and horrible mines to Iraq; because we fought with Iraqis’ war equipments as it was shown in this film.
Our conflict was actually the conflict between objectives and beliefs. The enemy was shown in the form of a mine in that film.
Later, I played role in the films “Aggression Shadows”?, “War of Supertankers”? and “Storm”?.
I also played role in a TV serial with the subject of war which was directed by Ahmad Amini. In addition to these experiences, I played role in a TV theatre written by Jafar Panahi. It was the greatest TV theatre in the history of Iran television.
In order to become closely familiar with events in war and spirits of combatants, I went to “Sar -e Pol -e Zahab”? and “Meymeh”? for two months. It was a very good experience for me. I saw and experienced many things that absolutely helped me in playing my role better than before (u1575).
Since I was very choosy in choosing films for playing roles in them, I never liked to play role which was far from reality. We had seen war with our own eyes; but when we watched some films, it seemed that they show another thing. There were relatively great concepts in “Aggression Shadows”?. The main character of the film wanted to keep his home and homeland; so he defended his life; but it was shown at the end of the film that he is forgotten by people due to their ignorance. And it was almost the same subject in the Film “War of Supertankers”?.
It is correct that the characters which I played their role were not champions; but they are so patriotic that the audience can easily understand that their feelings are not merely mottos. In the Film “War of Supertankers”?, the supertankers which were themselves like big bombs fought with a war plane. And one supertanker explodes at the end of the battle. Now if it was shown vice versa in the film, the reality of war of supertankers would not be pictured. In this film, I as an actor, made my best efforts to be able to transfer the sense of the character well. Those who had worked on a supertanker described the Film “War of Supertankers”? as a successful and influential film when it was screened in cinemas. They approved that the realities had been shown well in that film. You should be in the situation to know what has passed in the war of supertankers. The supertanker carries 500,000 tons of oil. With having 17 types of dangerous gases, this supertanker would be completely exploded if a bomb hits it. When you imagine this scene, you find out how brave the captain of this Supertanker should be in order to accept the responsibility of managing this ship. These are self sacrifice and devotion. In order to become closer to my role, I spoke with the people who had experienced that situation in a supertanker for hours. I lived closely with them for days.
Although I have played many films with the subject of sacred defense, I am still eager to play roles in the films in this genre. Almost 6 film scripts were suggested to me during the past one or two years; but I didn’t accept any one them.
It is interesting to know that I further found out 4 of these film scripts were never made. And it shows the weakness of these film scripts; because despite all current problems, a good film script will be finally made.

The Self Sacrifice in Back of Battle Fields Must Be Pictured

We should have made much better films in the field of sacred defense before end of war. We can still remake those films. All the people who made films during the first years of war, were those who worked with the same people of sacred defense. Many of them are professional actors at the present time. Film directors did not have lots of information about sacred defense cinema at that time. And they did not consider this genre as a professional genre. It does not mean at all that no good films were made; but we expected much better films considering being at the heart of war time. As for actors, those who were professional actors could show the feeling of combatants and atmosphere of battle filed with strong deep playing; but it was not enough and appropriate. The false thing is never like the original one; especially when we want to show the self sacrifice and martyrdom of the people who are justly unique in the history.
Today, more than anything, we need to show the concepts which end to war. These concepts should be focused with an expert and professional view. The actor should be powerful to be able to picture this sense; but the view of the film maker is also very important.
All actors who have played roles in war films have however made lots of efforts; because playing role in war films is more difficult than what you imagine. For instance, consider the Film “Duel”?. Although, it was supported by different organizations, it was very hard to make it. The actor should be very intelligent in order to play in war films. When a bullet is shot, the actor should show a reaction as fast as the bullet has been shot.
And the work becomes double difficult when the actor plays the role of a person that a nation and a country owes to him; so such roles should be played by actors who are really professional. It is important and critical to play roles in sacred defense films. And not everyone can play such roles well. Expectations of actor become more when the whole team is good. And we exp
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