This is the Iranian director’s second visit to the Busan film fest, having taken part in 2015 with “Immortal,” which won both the New Currents and Fipresci prizes.
During a press conference held at the Busan Cinema Center on Wednesday, the director said he was surprised to find out that his film had been selected as the opener.
“When I heard that my film was selected as the opening film of this great festival, I just asked myself: Why? Why did they choose my film,” the director said.
He said this selection is not only meaningful to him, but also to the Iranian cinema industry as a whole.
“I can say that the Busan film festival helps Iranian cinema to develop a lot. This festival is very important to Iranian cinema,” he said.
The director added that the Busan film fest's contribution to the development of Iranian cinema has been possible because it supports art films to have freedom.
In Mohaghegh’s film, an electrician (Mohaghegh) travels from town to town to help fix a disabled man’s house in which the power went out. The electrician also devotes his own time, energy and money to help the disabled man further.
Mohaghegh explained that the protagonist actively helping his neighbor who needs a helping hand does not feel special to him and added that he always tries to create a universal story.
“I believe this is the nature of human being,” he said.
The director also talked about the village the film was shot in, in the southwest of Iran.
“I was born in the location so I understand the location and the location understands me,” he said.
Although the place has beautiful scenery, the director said the village also has some sad feelings to it as it has a history of many people leaving the town for economic reasons.
Mohaghegh added that he intended to include those opposing feelings about the town in the film and chose the location.
He also said he chose to perform the role of the electrician in the film because he believed that he could perform it best with full understanding.
“The character did not have much dialogue but I wanted the audiences to see what he thinks,” he said. “So I thought maybe I could play it best.”
This year’s BIFF, which is returning to its pre-pandemic scale, runs through Oct. 14.
A total of 243 films from 71 countries will be screened through the course of the film festival, according to the BIFF organizer.