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Mohsen Makhmalbaf Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (1) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (9) | Personal Quotes (24)

Overview (1)

Date of Birth 29 May 1957Tehran, Iran

Mini Bio (1)

Mohsen Makhmalbaf is known as one of the most influential filmmakers and founders of the new wave of Iranian cinema in the world today.

Many of his films like Salam Cinema, A Moment Of Innocence, Gabbeh, Kandahar and The President have been widely well received across the globe and have brought him over 50 international awards from the prestigious film festivals like Cannes, Venice, Locarno... His film Kandahar has been chosen as one of the top 100 best movies of history of cinema by Times Magazine.

His fame as the most prominent filmmaker of Iran made him the subject of an identity theft by someone who wished to become a filmmaker. This incident turned to a famous film called Close up by Abbas Kiarostami.

Makhmalbaf has also taught his three children about the art of cinema. His older daughter Samira holds the record for the youngest filmmaker who have been selected for the official section of Cannes at the age of 17 with her first debut titled The Apple. Samira has also won the Grand Jury Prize of Cannes twice with her second and and third film titled The Blackboards and At Five In The Afternoon. Hana, Makhmalbaf's younger daughter, won the Crystal Bear of Berlin and the Grand Jury Prize of San Sebastian Film Festival with her first feature film.

At the age of 17 as a political activist Mohsen was shot by the police and spent 5 years in prison as a political prisoner. His fight and human right activities against dictatorship in Iran has continued till today. With his film Afghan Alphabet he managed to change a law in Iran which resulted in opening the door of schools and universities for education of over half million Afghan children refugee in his country. Makhmalbaf, the prestigious Manhae Peace Award winner, had also established his own NGO in Iran in which he executed 82 different human right projects for helping women and children of Afghanistan.

Since 2009, all 40 films of Makhmalbaf family alongside Mohsen's 30 published book are banned in his homeland. The Iranian government has also levied a ban on Makhmalbaf's name in the media. In 2013, the Iranian government also removed over 120 international awards of Makhmalbaf family from the museum of cinema in Iran.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: MFH

Spouse (1)

Marzieh Makhmalbaf (? - present) (3 children)

Trivia (9)

Retrospective at the Kerala International Film Festival, India. [2001]
Recepient of the Sergei Parajanov Award at Yerevan Film Festival (2006).
Being member of an underground Islamic militia group, he was shot and arrested while attempting to disarm a policeman at the age of 17.
Was raised by his single mother.
Between the age of 8 and 17, he had thirteen different jobs including bellboy and plains worker.
Resides in Kabul, Afghanistan with his family, taking charge of executing projects on education and hygiene.
Has written 27 books, some of them translated into 12 languages.
Formed the Makhmalbaf Film House to teach film (1996).

Personal Quotes (24)

I'm not playing myself. It's a symbolic situation, where I want to introduce a fascist behind the table. I couldn't have had anybody else do that; for it to be successful, I had to do it myself.
I was in jail four and a half years. When I came out, I continued the same struggle against injustice, but instead of using weapons, I began to use art and cinema.
When I came out, and for many years afterwards, it had become a habit for me to sit and read and read and read, like an obsession. I would take 20 books, and not come out until I'd finished them. It took me a while to change that habit.
Because there is so little room for expression otherwise, a lot of people love cinema because they find it a way of expressing themselves.
If I make two films in a year, they'll be different. This is my style - I can't have just one way.
I myself had to grow a longer beard and Afghan clothes. I was in danger of being kidnapped by smugglers, though I didn't know it at the time.
There's an 800 kilometer border between Iran and Afghanistan.
Afghan society is very complex, and Afghanistan has a very complex culture. Part of the reason it has remained unknown is because of this complexity.
The style depends on the subject.
Rumi, who is one of the greatest Persian poets, said that the truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.
Do you know that every day, 10 people in Afghanistan are injured by landmines? It will continue for the next 50 years, because the country has the largest number of landmines in the world.
I've heard about brothers making films, but I've never heard about whole families making films like this. We didn't intend to do it; it wasn't something that we planned - it just gradually happened.
From 7 in the morning to 11 at night, I was reading. I don't think one can find any other time in one's life to be left alone so much to read in peace like that.
Five years ago, Samira did not want to continue in the regular school system in Iran. To help her with her education, I set up a home school. It wasn't just for my family, it was open to other friends.
From my films, you can at least learn about Iran, you can get a sense of the history and the society. But no such films have been made about Afghanistan, so you really can't know much about it.
The Buddhas had to be destroyed by the Taliban to get the world thinking about Afghanistan.
But also, there are no films being made about Afghanistan.
A problem was the lack of cooperation of the Afghan community itself. The women, though living in Iran, were under cover and not willing to participate in the film, and none of the ethnic groups were willing to work together or be together.
I wanted to be left alone to live my life, so it was very easy for people to pretend that they were me.
The question in their minds was, why did the outside world, and particularly the Western world, produce all these landmines, and send them to Afghanistan? This business must be stopped. It's a dirty business to produce such a horrible device.
In many ways, it is very real, because I sat there for 9 days, and it was constantly happening, and that was the 9 days of making the film. But you can't say that it's 100% true, because there are places where I've been intrusive and interfered.
In Afghanistan, this is the problem, because everybody holds a piece of that mirror, and they all look at it and claim that they hold the entire truth.
When we began filming, these people had legs, but as we were filming, they had been injured and they were brought to the hospital to have their legs amputated, and that's where we found them and asked them to come and be part of the film.
Usually people like to categorise artists. With my films, I categorise people: if I know which one of my movies you like, I can tell which kind of a person you are.

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