Bahman Ghobadi's critics of Kiarostami in 2009 for his lukewarm support of the regime and neutrality in the face of the national protests which rocked the country but were cracked down and became known as the Green Movement. Kiarostami's own Son has been an active member of the Pro IRI lobby in the United States and has contributed to helping fundraise for this organization in recent years ( See Photo)
Below excerpt from Ghobadi's interview with Filmmaker Magazine ( Link Here)
On his recent public dispute with Abbas Kiarostami:
FILMMAKER: Your recent conflict with Kiarostami has been of great interest to the film community. Would you like to say a few words about that?
GHOBADI: I’d like to set the record straight for the last time here in this interview. First of all, I have a lot of respect for Abbas Kiarostami. He is my teacher and I have the greatest respect for his films and his work. He was like a father to me, and when I wrote to him [publically], it was like writing to one’s father. He knows, better than anyone else that in the Iranian filmmaking world, that I have the highest regard for him.
Recently, Abbas Kiarostami did an interview with an Arabic newspaper in which he congratulated me, Bahman Ghobadi, on leaving Iran. He said it in a sarcastic tone, implying that I had run away. It’s not right for him to make me appear as a cowardly person who would flee Iran. I did not run away; I was made to leave my country.
He also said, “I’m living in my country, in my homeland, and making films in my language,” thereby implying that I, Bahman Ghobadi, was not doing this. Yet at exactly the time that he was making a film with Juliette Binoche in a non-Persian language [Certified Copy], I was making Persian Cats in my own language and in my own country. Of course there is nothing wrong with making films in other languages, but the fact is that he shouldn’t have made me seem like a coward and himself a hero in front of people. I did not appreciate being put down in front of my own people when I had no choice other than to leave.
He’s in an international boom. He’s an international figure who’s very safe in Iran. But he makes it sound like everybody can sleep peacefully in Iran. That is really not the case. If you’re in a position of power, you should not assume that everyone else is in that same position. So what I am saying is, “Please do not make it sound like all the people in Iran have a peaceful and calm life like you do.” When I open my mouth and say something, I want to represent the reality of life in my country. The truth is that we are in a very bad situation in Iran, and we need to talk about it.
Mr. Kiarostami must remember that there’s a big difference between his filmmaking and my filmmaking; we’re not making the same kind of films. My filmmaking, like that of Jafar Panahi and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, is political; we take the camera is taken out into society. Naturally, we don’t get permission to film as easily as Kiarostami does to make his “art” films. I want to speak of political and sociological resistance in my films, as I have always done and as I will continue to do.
In my letter to him, I invited him for further dialogue. But I want to ask you to do some research and find out whether or not I’m telling the truth. I want you to find the truth on your own.
Translated from the Persian by Sheida Dayani