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Directo's Note

As an Iranian woman, I have no dreams. Isn't it strange? It means that it is too late for me to dream. Despite all the efforts I have always made, I am always late for my wishes. This is not just for me and every woman experiences this. I believe, as a woman, you can achieve anything you want anywhere in the world by persevering. We women got used to suffering, that's why we learned to survive. But when you don't get what you want at a time when you are passionate, the amount of pain becomes more than you can bear. This is where you sink into your loneliness, to the point where you experience an absolute stillness. Although the story of the film Mitosis is about a man, it is about the minorities who drowned in their loneliness due to being ignored.

raha hajizeinal in mitosis 2023

Director's Statement

I live in a society where good and evil are very bold, everything is either completely accepted or completely rejected. Unfortunately, minorities are often rejected or rejected. If you have a desire against the general society, you will be humiliated or rejected. People in my country pay a high price for what they want. Of course, there are these problems at different levels in every society, but in my society, this is very prominent. There are many don'ts for us. We have to give up our demands as a woman, as a sexual minority, as an artist, or as other minorities. The fact that I consider women a minority in my country shows the depth of the tragedy. Kaveh's character in the movie, Mitosis, is rejected from society because of his demands as a LGBT. In these dos and don'ts, I have gone to the life of an artist who is involved in the hatred of his life's dos and don'ts. I wanted to show the extent of this person's emotions. Although these feelings may be considered wrong in my society. Kaveh is the story of Mitosis, our fellow citizen. I want my people to see this fellow citizen. The main character of my film, Kaveh, is a sculptor, someone who creates his desires and maybe his dreams in his sculptures. He thinks about more than his sexual desires. He seeks to assert his identity. The identity that society has taken away from him. He seeks his purest image as an artist. I want to say in this film that we should respect the interests and desires of all people, we should consider them as members of our society. We should not be judged by our choices, even if that choice is to create a work of art. I want the film Mitosis to be a representative of the people who have been living in secret for years in my country. In this film, I want to show the private face of an artist who is only looking for a normal life. I want to show the life of a person who may be ridiculed for his choices in my society, but when we go into his daily life, we see how pure his feelings are, how beautifully he can fall in love, and how far he can go. Burn in this love. I want the audience of the film Mitosis to associate with this person as a representative of the artists. Maybe this movie can change the view of my society and the world society towards artists. I want the audience of Mitosis, especially other artists in Iran and the world, to identify with the characters of the film. This is my main goal in making the Mitosis film. The respect and identity of the artists are completely preserved with every choice and attitude

raha hajizeinal portrait

Director's Interview

Why did you choose the name “Mitosis”?

Mitosis means the division of the cell nucleus into two equal cells, and since the main character of the film seeks to share a part of his existence with another person or a statue, we named it mitosis.

Does the story of Mitosis also happen in real life?

Emotionally and because I talked to many sculptors, what happened to this artist was understandable for many. From the artistic point of view and what happens to an artist in isolation, it can be said that there are many of us in my society. This lostness existed in the majority of these artists, the fact that the majority of sculptors reflected their lostness in their works was a common occurrence in most of them.

This film includes various elements of art such as theater, cinema, music, and sculpture. Did you plan to make a performative film?

Undoubtedly, my experience in the field of music as a female singer, my presence in the theater as a director and director of more than 10 shows, as well as acting and directing in the cinema field, have not been without influence in the direction of Mitosis. The traces of all these arts can be seen everywhere in this film, and these traces have been my experiences in my artistic life. The combination of three elements of music, cinema, and theater has always existed in my cinema and theater works. On the other hand,

sculpture is my personal interest, maybe I have never pursued this art professionally, but I have always been and am a special audience for sculpture. For this reason, I was no stranger to this art, and when I wanted to show the life of an artist in this film, I went to a sculptor. But in general, if I want to say that I wanted to make a performance film, it was not like that. I went along with the drama. I wanted to make a dramatic film using the above elements. The choice of the sculptor was in a way that could advance the drama and the story. Mitosis's short film is a very dramatic film about the daily life of a sculptor.

Normally, Iranian films that are shown in international festivals are about Iran's social problems. Why didn't you go for making such a work that usually wins awards?

First of all, let me say that by the way, this movie is completely social. However, I looked at the hidden part of Iranian society. The part that always lives in secret. A part of society that maybe we don't see in the streets and they are always isolated. Therefore, dealing with the life of an artist who is LGBT is completely social. However, I went to the isolation of this person. I didn't want to repeat making social films. I was looking for the truth in this film and addressing this issue is the same as the truth. What problems does a LGBT artist face? Unfortunately, being an artist alone in my society has many difficulties.

raha hajizeinal portrait 1

Director's Interview

Now imagine that you are a LGBT artist. I wanted to be the language of many people who do not talk about this issue.  I can honestly say that I did not make my film to win an award. This was my concern and that's why I made this film.

What were your selection criteria for choosing the actors? As a female director, how did you direct your actors to play the roles of two LGBT people?

Unfortunately, the issue of homosexuals is taboo in my society, it is very difficult to approach this issue, and on the one hand, if you want to make an honest and maybe bold work on this issue, it makes it more difficult. For this reason, it was very difficult for me, the director, as well as the actors, to deal with this issue. In Iranian cinema, you can't even make a movie about the relationship between a man and a woman, let alone make a movie about LGBT people. I tried to show the feelings of these two characters honestly, without exaggeration, and completely real. These feelings are sometimes misunderstood in my society, but it is a sincere and normal relationship. I had many conversations with the actors of this film and we tried our best to make both actors express their emotions completely naturally. Understand your personality and portray this relationship realistically with all the challenges of a natural relationship. My actors tried to overcome existing taboos and present a real view of their characters.

Tell us about the filmmaking style of the film and how you work with Hanif Parandeh as the director of photography.

I have a history of long-term cooperation with Hanif Parandeh, always after the completion of the script, my first action is long-term discussions with Hanif. He has a lot of intelligence, he always helps me in the important parts of the film, and his view of cinema is close to mine. We tried to choose a kind of style in filming to be close to the character and his mental and personal space. The fiery personal atmosphere of the first character of this film defines the camera's gaze. I was looking for a kind of chaos in the filming, a chaos that comes from the character's core identity. For this reason, we avoided any arrangement space. We wanted to constantly look for the subject in the filming, and for this reason, all the decoupages were formed based on this look. Fortunately, Hanif Parandeh is a knowledgeable cinemato­grapher, and with his taste, he completely completed my vision as a director.

The closeness of my mind with the cameraman made me not to give an additional explanation, as if Hanif understood with the very first sentence what kind of image I was looking for in each shot. Fortunately, this familiarity and awareness and good relationship between me and my cameraman made the space I wanted in the decoupages to be done well.

raha hajizeinal portrait 2

Director's Interview

The issue of women has always been a big challenge in Iran. We are faced with very few Iranian female directors. What is the challenge of being a female director in Iran?

Iranian women are being banned from the day they are born; from the day they learn to walk and talk. We have always been limited. Women in Iran are prohibited from freedom, and as they grow, the obstacles in front of them become bigger. We are separated from men in all moments of life. In childhood, during education, and during work, we have many restrictions compared to men. Unfortunately, there are these limitations in art and in directing. Everyone believes that women are not capable of doing hard work and since directing is a tough profession, it is not easily left to women. If every time an Iranian woman has been praised, she has done things that maybe no one believed. Unfortunately, when these restrictions are imposed on women from childhood when they want to do something important, this weakness affects their subconscious. For this reason, women must first break the strong fence that society has built for them and then start working.

As an Iranian female director, I believe that we must be bold. We may lose many things along the way, but we must believe that we

will also gain many unique things. Based on this point of view, I stood strong and chose a subject for my film that many cinematographers may not go for. I want to tell all the women of my country that with courage and courage, we can be in the best position. The fact that Iranian women filmmakers are underemployed is not due to the lack of awareness, literacy, and courage, sometimes obstacles are put in the way of women that do not allow them to breathe.

A mitosis short film has been made. Of course, there will be different opinions after the screening. As a director, what impression do you want the audience to have of this film?

I would like every viewer who saw this movie to think about himself and his emotions. I would like the audience of this film to face LGBT artists and the community with a better and more open view.

As a last question, how would you like the world community and world artists to recognize Iranian women?

Courage and strength.

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