Film music in Iranian cinema

Film music in Iranian cinema.

The dramatic capture of sounds

With Fardin Khalatbari, chritophe Rezai, Javad Toosi

Javad Toosi: One of my lucky things in life was having a father who loved film. He was a military officer and the Army cinema on Friday morning and on Tuesday evening featured Iranian and foreign films in various Tehran cinemas for his staff and his family members. My dad and I were the loyal customers of these programs, and on the other occasions we went to Laleh Zar and Islamabol and Shah Abad cinemas, and sometimes my mother accompanied us. When I learned to whistle from my dad, I used to do it like the soundtrack of the most memorable movies I saw. Once upon a time, when I whistled the music of the famous movie named The Bridge on the River Kwai, by David Lane, in our neighborhood, The wife of the landlord, Nosrat, told me from the window in second floor, “Go to your room, whistle for your dear dad and mom, to see what kind of a boy they have, let us sleep!”  Once again, when I was in the eighth grade in high school I did it in the class before the arrival of the chemistry teacher with a classmate, like me he was a movie freak, we whistled the sound of the film “Qeysar” for the rest of the kids. I whistled and my fellow classmate was beating on the wooden bench. Suddenly, Mr.Esmaeili, our schoolmaster, came to the threshold of the class. Mr. Esma’ili instantly threw me and my friend out of the classroom and said, “You think that you came to disco!! Farewell, go home and enjoy it.”  In Summary, Massoud Kimayee and Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh were the reason we got fired from school! Then my dad came to the principal and the schoolmaster to take their satisfaction with difficulty. The case ended in good. From one place I began to collect the disk of Iranian and foreign films. I remember I listened to the music disk of the films like Qeysar, Dash Akol, Goodbye Friend, Reza Motorcyclist, the Midday adventures, the Godfather, Fiddler on the Roof, and the Sound of Music (tears and smiles) on our worn out gramophone too many times that they were cracked. Then the cassette player hit the market and I became the customer of Beethoven’s studio and El Cordoba and … The soundtrack for our generation had romance rituals. This roundtable led us away from that usual format and took us into the world of nostalgia and recalling memories. Pardon me but I myself and Khosrow Khan Homayoun Dehkordi do not forgive one of the invited guests (Mohammad Rahmanian), who was supposed to be in this conversation, and left us high and dry just about a minute before the program. One who is passionate about his first feature (Bench Cinema) and pays his tribute to the music and cinema with his theatrical performances, not even saying a single apology.

We are at a time when we discuss the existence of cinema in terms of the use of music in a different and transformed condition. Perhaps it may be said that the atmosphere of that classical and golden age – especially in the 40’s to 60’s – that the soundtrack in Hollywood and the studio system was a main principle, does not exist anymore. Because of this, I want my friends to come up, with a comparative comparison of the past and present, to a modern definition of film music. To begin, I have a few brief definitions of this from your colleagues. For instance, Mr.Ahmad Pejman believes that the soundtrack can cover the outward and inward quality of a scene.  Likewise, the late Freydoon Naseri was said in an interview that music must be at service of image. That is, if we consider a frame, the soundtrack can be a complementary point of view for the director. Or Alex North’s famous composer in 1986, when receiving the Oscars Academy Awards, said I’m trying to do what the storyline and the relationship between characters require, and I hope I can add a personal image to it. . What’s your idea about movie music?

chritophe Rezai :I fully agree with this outward and inward view. But I do not agree with the quotation you received from Fereydoun Nasseri. Incidentally, I think the music can have the next dimension that goes beyond the frame and goes inside the storyboard and completes the story and dialogues. What’s always appealing to me, and at the same time hard, is that in the music of the film you be yourself (as the composer), and serve the text and the director’s request. We should not forget that the music of the film is at the service of a team that forms light and rhythm and montages and dialogues and plays.

Toosi: So from your point of view a composer cannot have a creative and independent view?

Rezai: He can, but serving the intended purpose of the director. If a composer wants to be independent, he will make a piece that is associated with his imagination. But when it serves a video and cinema project that includes a variety of different spectrum, it should serve that artwork. Now there can be an artist himself as a creator himself. Because there is a copyright for scenario and music and directing a cinematic work. That is, it can do something else by creating this music (of course, in the context of this film). If you listen to a music and can say that this music belongs to someone (a composer), I think it’s a success. In the so-called Hollywood you mentioned, it’s still possible to ask about the successful and influential piece of soundtrack that has its own global audience and listener.

Homayoun Dehkordi: Being at the service of the film does not have a very clear definition.

Rezai:Look! The first thing I want from directors is to know me as a 5-year-old child and to tell me a story. I might even ask them a lot of stupid questions, but I need them to penetrate filmmaker’s mind. So when I say at the service of the movie, I mean that I am in the service of the director’s mentality and the rhythm I’m looking for. This is not a passive presence.

Toosi: We assume that a director has no prior knowledge to the music category. Under these circumstances, when you see the totality of the work, it’s inferred that, for example, the movie needs more music, but the director does not have such a mentality. This suggestion that you make, in your opinion, makes the film more attractive and more refined. Now if you can justify such a person based on your abilities, is not this the same creative and artistic idea? That is, the independence I have mentioned here is objectified.

Rezai: Yes, well, it depends on the director. This has happened to me in collaboration with many directors. Of course except Dariush Mehrjui.

Toosi: In movies like “Orange suit” and “Good to be Back”?

Rezai: Yes, creativity in the movie, is accomplished when the composer can be free to do what he is wants. I used the word free because writing music for me is like living. For example, now I did not want to be two hours in traffic, but it exists, and I have to find my freedom in these frameworks. In the realm of music, if I want a complete freedom, well, I’m going to write a symphony. But when I accept to participate in an artwork, like a movie, I know what our limitations are. The director’s initial request may be made with some unimportant words. For example, he says that I want a music epic with a memorable melody. This is just the impression that the director has at that moment, and I, the composer, have to turn these into a living creature called music. So, I always ask the directors what music you like, or what music you listen on the movie? From the director’s words, I understand his musical taste and I try to consider it to make my own music. Anyway, he wants to make his own music and I have to go forward with his taste. The more I know my limitations, the more my freedom is, as I do my job with the knowledge of these parameters and frameworks.

Toosi: Given that you are not a busy composer, do you try to choose director according to your own criteria?

Rezai: Now this may happen much more. But it didn’t happen at the start of my career. My few works were due to the fact that I did not make myself compatible very much with the Iranian cinema environment, and nobody knew me and did not have a good social relationships. What always matters to me is the existence of a friendly relationship with the director. Even sometimes it was my main criterion to work, not necessarily the quality of the film. Now, in reviewing the films I have ever done, I see that I dislike some of them. For example, in the year that passed, I rejected a few films because of having other projects. The acceptance of the movie named “Negar” with Rambod Javan, had a special story.

Toosi: Negar is also a kind of movie that, even if it does not match my taste, is a great opportunity for a composer to show off his capabilities.

Rezai: That’s exactly true. Because I know that movie music is an order and serves a set of frameworks, it can sometimes be interesting and challenging. For example, when I want to go to the desert or mountain, I prefer mountains. But if they tell me to go to the desert, I say that I do not know the environment, but let’s see what it is. Collaboration in films sometimes happens like this. When I read Rambod’s scenario I was fascinated. But when I saw the film, it became much more attractive to me. When I see the director has a creative look or concern, I got excited.

Toosi: Mr. Khalatbari! A distinct difference between you and Mr. Christoph Rezai is that you have worked apart from the cinema in other areas such as TV and theater, and so on. What is your definition of movie music with these experiences?

Rezai: I have been working at the theater, and recently I have been involved in some kind of performance.

Khalatbari: I read the book that Alex North wrote. I saw things that are still concerned with cinema and the relationship between the composer and the director. Actually, the experiences we have, they have had and yet have in Hollywood. Music and cinema are supposed to be matched together. It is natural that we get a relative relationship in some places. What North says the musical drama is based on the story and produces music. We basically have two parts, one static and another dynamic. One time we work with static, another we work with dynamic. These are two separate issues. For example, when we say to the director that we want to see the film, we want to find out how he knows the technical tool. Notice! We approach the movie in a few steps. One is when the scenario is written. Sometimes, before a scenario is written, the composer is present and this presence is significant. As Christophe says, there is a friendship, and you know that the director and script writer are supposed to write something and start something. He definitely thinks about you. Let me tell you something interesting about the history of the cinema. The music “The hours” (Stephen Daldry, 2002) is not made for that film. It’s a coincidence that the director comes in and he listens to the music of Flip Glass and likes it and puts it on his film. Then, it’s very interesting when the writer (Michael Cunningham) saw the film he was shocked. He says that when I was writing a movie, I listened to this music. So this is important to see when and how a musician comes into the movie? Sometimes after a scenario, sometimes when filming or after montage, and once, when the work is not desirable, after the sound.

Dehkordi: Why undesirable?

Khalatbari: Because it’s very important for musicians to know what are the audio layers in the film so that they can find their place well. This is a dynamic debate. For example, I have an action scene and I do not know what sounds it has? I do not even know if this scene has a decent dialogue. Well, I write and finish music for it. Next, I see that the train roared on the background, and the motorcycle hits the ground and … So I always call the sound designer, and I say, what is the sound here and explain?

Dehkordi: Aren’t all of them in consultation with you?

Rezai: No, actually, one of the problems we have is that sound.

Khalatbari: one of the director’s job is to transfer his mental imagination and his views to the key elements of the film before any opposition happens. Then it comes to the imagery. In the mentioned book, Alex North says the editors choose and pick a musical instrument to make their assembling easier. When they show us the film, they remove that music and edit. Now you’re faced with a sequence that is cut off on another music and you do not know. That music has a sympathetic effect on editor, and also the director has found a sympathy over time with it. Then we sometimes realize that it was the music that organize everything very well. I’m always saying let’s see what music has been. Hugo Friedhofer, a classical music producer and producer of music of movies like Veracruz and Gilda, and “The Best Years of Our Life,” told that so many times I’ve experienced and saw what we are creating is always less than what it was in the director’s mind and the editor(less than a song that they have chosen when they were editing the movie). So I started copying from somewhere (rather than copying the theme). I took the rhythm from at least those selective pieces to make my work get close to it. For example, they make a scene with the music of the “Zorba the Greek”, which is also a very famous music (made by Mikis Theodorakis), and the scene is edited with it. Then they send us, and we must surpass it, for example, for “Zorba the Greek”,

Toosi: You name this “paying your tribute to the film”??

Khalatbari: However, music for editors creates a rhythmic context, and the stream of edits becomes more acceptable. Many do it and many don’t. I would like to say that all the issues that have been in classical music, such as the musician wrote a theme and this theme is sometimes consistent with the taste and spirit of the director, and sometimes it has not been. Sometimes the director says that this is more than my imagination or less than my imagination. These calamities have always existed. But we certainly cannot get to a single law. No matter how much we translate and interpret our work in order to achieve a specific framework, this will not happen again. Of course, some directors have chosen their musicians before they made their movie. Like the collaborations of Zbigniew Praisner and Kishlovsky. In Iran, we also have this form of cooperation more or less. There are a number of directors who choose a fixed musician for all their works.

Toosi: Like a period of cooperation between Esfandiar Monfaredazadeh and Masoud Kimiai, Hormoz Farhat and Dariush Mehrjui, or you and Hassan Fathi….

Khalatbari: Exactly. They just got a feeling of the music for their movie, before it was made. Because they accept that kind of music.

Toosi: That is, based on this alignment and sense of acceptance, Splinberg consistently used John Williams, or Hitchcock and Bernard Herman?

Khalatbari: Put John Williams’s work together, you see, it’s a trend. It somewhere becomes linear and similar, then something else happens in Munich and you face another John Williams.

Toosi: Or in the “Schindler List” that the violin plays the main role in the film’s music.

Khalatbari: Yes, there, a man respects John Williams greatly. Because someone who always knows him with Wagner’s massive orchestrations, wrote such a melody that is very academic also. So what Christophe said is very important. This friendship with the director has two is interpretations.

Toosi: Of course, this friendly relationship with a director is the relevance of a cultural community. When our society is so scattered and isolated, is it possible that the ideal situation may at all be shaped and sustained?

Khalatbari: This friendship that I said is not like a special privilege in this regard. For example, in a judicial system, they appoint a conqueror lawyer and ask him to defend the accused. But it’s time that a lawyer goes and chooses a guilty party and gives him the right to seek justice. A good picture in the cinema happens when the director does not face with the composer like a conquered lawyer. For example, in our cinema, unfortunately, the producer decides for a composer. The director may not accept the composer at all, but he has to tolerate him for professional reasons. There are a lot of musicians in Iranian cinema that come and work well on one or two films, but then they are forgotten and gone. We have had enough of these people. You first mentioned the classical period as the golden age of the cinema. These quarrels have always been and lasted forever. But I believe that the cinema is moving and the cinema’s trend is important. Ten years, thirty years, one hundred years later, we can recognize all of these courses as a golden age.

Toosi: But why some songs and melodies like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Dr. Zhivago” by Maurice Jar, “Papillon” by Jerry GoldSmith, “The Midday Adventures” by Dimitri Tiomkin, “The Godfather” by Nino Rota, “Once upon a time in America” by Annie Morricone, Bernard Hermann’s Vertigo, “z ” and Theodorakis’ “State of Seige” … have a lasting presence in my mind and memory? Is this a stupid nostalgia?

Khalatbari: No, it’s not a nostalgia. Look! We experience some periods. For example, in the modern novel and drama, the position of many things is changing. In modern music melody is different. Melodic events are not supposed to happen. Or, for example, when I listen to Christophe Rezai’s music, I’m always looking for its mood, not a melody. The main goal is the strengthening the drama. In fact, like a homogeneous fluid, it brings image or dialogues and sound together, and does not with each other. In classical music, you sometimes feel that the melody affects the dialogue and does not let you know what the player says. A few days ago, I saw “Godfather” translated in Persian. In a part of the movie I told myself that it was not possible that this scene has this music. I went and found the main language and I saw the same scene. Our dear translators, in the translating version of the music, put another part of the film on this episode. You, for example, have a well-trained person like Rubik Mansouri, who his role in a period of our own cinema in terms of sound and music can’t be denied. We have a classic look and a non-classic look that is also exists in Hollywood cinema. For example, I always wondered why Annie Morricone was not an Oscar nominee for the best musician. At the end, they gave him a lifetime of artistic activity. This is because his view of classical music is different from classical view of those composers in the movie.

Toosi: Bernhard Hermann, apparently, was not selected except for one period in Oscar Academy Award. In the words of Michel Rosas, he was in the American musical community like Gulliver among the Lilliputians.

Khalatbari: Yes, however, we live in a period in which the film is not supposed to be the same as the image. You see a movie that its first half has music, and the second half does not have at all. Or see a film that only has music at its end. Or, for example, you see a movie that its music does not have a character. Sometimes music follows the mind of the director and it does not matter what that character is and what it is and how it is. All this is true. Our biggest mistake is to get our own lines. One of the best filmmakers who, in my opinion, used good music and, incidentally, did not work with a specific composer, is Mr. Dariush Mehrjui. Sometimes the music of his choice is amazing. For example, the elaborate use from one of the famous song’s of AliReza Eftekhari in his movie named “Layla”. Or in “Hamoon”, he extracted Bach from Naser CheshmAzar. In the film “Pari”, which has been worked by Keywan Jahanshahi, he uses a very rhythmic, musical instrumentation of flute. You see, Mehrjui has not worked with music homogeneously. His films are very different too. Especially in recent times, it’s getting something else. But when you look at the “Circle of Mina”, you can see how he has used music, how its theme has repeated itself, and it does not annoy you.

Toosi: Let’s recall the same concise music of Hormoz Farhat feature in the movie “The Cow” and with that repetitive slow theme.

Khalatbari: To sum up, not only in music, but in other factors of a movie, we definitely cannot talk about a model to say that this is it, this is what we wanted. This creates anarchy. For example, the director does not have the patience to deal with a musician, he goes to a party that some people sit together and one of them plays a music, he says that’s it, this is the song that I want, this is good. And then takes that music and puts it on his film.

Rezai: This will eventually be a disadvantage for the film. Of course, I also believe that there is no framework and format. Because creativity can be emerged at any moment. For example, the filmmaker does not know what’s going on at work. One day, he sees that one of the actors acts more than his imaginations. Well, bringing improvisation into something that is already foreseen is very difficult and some do not want to be improvised.

Toosi: If we want to base Mr. Khalatbari’s view, do you believe that the other conditions of the same genre do not stop the linear narrative, as seen in most of Hitchcock’s works, and hence, for example, a “Contrapuntal” type of music works well in these circumstances?

Khalatbari: No, that’s another matter.

Toosi: That is, a society that has gone through modernity requires a different kind of music?

Khalatbari: Let’s look at the case a little bit historically. In silent cinema, music was completely parallel with the story of the film, and it got emotional, with emotional scene and thrilling with exciting scene. It was a habit that people listen to the music in the cinema, and this continued. When you are reviewing the history of music, you see a progression. We are slowly moving away from that vibrant music, and this is minimized in some places. In the meantime, a variety of cinema is shaped like animation. How cinema becomes introverted, the music moves away more from the movie action and approaches the director’s mentality. For example in the “The Postman Does not knock Three times”, by Hassan Fathi, who is  related to tendency of the “horror genre”, music is constantly moving and accompanied with the moments of the film. But Fathi made another film called “A Simple Day” that has not yet been shown and its story is happening in France. There we have three pieces of music, which in fact are the intervals of the film. Sometimes music changes its place in the film. For example, at the end of the sequence, the sequence moves through the sequence to the next, it’ll be your music. Fatih Akin has a film about the Turkey’s kids and yet some events happens in Germany. Then, in the middle of these, a music band performs music in front of Marmara and then the film enters the next season. The music is also performed completely. Christophe Rezai, in “Fish and Cats”, beautifully describes the atmosphere of the film with its genre and musical form. Or in the movie “What is the time In Your World”, Safi Yazdanian performs various variances on a local song. Perhaps his taste is not massive music. But in the director’s view, this music is repeated many times. And what a good result it has.

Rezae: This shows that there isn’t any no law for it.

The same movie “Postman does not knock the door three times” is one of Fardin Khalatbari’s best works, which, unfortunately, both the film and the kind of music that Fardin wrote for it were not well-understood. In my opinion sometimes the general atmosphere of the film and the world that the filmmaker wants to show can be understood by a structured, audible and meaningful execution by a composer. In one of the episodes of this film, we have a person who consider himself a devotee of Sha’ban. He has his own dialect and literature. But you as a composer cannot restrict yourself to his shape or appearance (in its classical form) and to add something to it to get a modern look at your deconstruction. For example, playing tabor in a different way.

Khalatbari: You can see, I’m have a single seat for my own in this room and from here I cannot lift my hand and take something out of that container. Always the place where the composer or the film itself gives the composer is very decisive.

Dehkordi: Does not it make you angry?

Khalatbari: No, actually, I never get angry at work. If we look at the film before releasing, we should not get angry. A director may love a music today and will not love it tomorrow. The cinema is a relative and a fluid art. Finally, the atmosphere of the music may sensitize the composer. This sensitivity is both in effect and in person himself. In “Postman …” , a scene was that one of the characters of the film threw a person out of a window. After two days of being awake, I went to sleep on the twelfth floor of a building. I got up at midnight and saw that scene again. I had the chance to jump from the side of the bed and hit the closet. The other side was a window, and if I fell from that side, I would fall straight into the courtyard from the twelfth floor. Well, you’re catching up with this feeling and getting yourself involved with it emotionally. I want to say that this is not an exception. When the musician is working, the film affects him.

Toosi: The same form of using the tempo in the movie “Postman …” is different from the classical and harsh form used by Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh in the film “Qeysar”. Is this deconstructing form of using tempo, which is imposing itself on a historical period, a point of agreement between you and the director?

Khalatbari: Definitely it is a reciprocal relationship. For example, I often understand the sense of music in my colleagues’ work. The reason is that I am too close to my work. For example, in an orchestra Christophe performs an atmosphere and … a chord is changing in “cat and fish”. You think that he will make them with all his soul, and then the director will come and say that I do not like this. Well, there must be a stop here. First of all, you should not disagree. Sometimes it’s possible that you lose your temper. But I love the directors that make me more distressed, because it’s surely going to be a good one. But there are directors who do not care what you do. All that they say is “good”. She does not care much about her film itself. I would like to say that directors are divided into two categories. I’m happy to work with a director who has thought about all of his films, and I’m sorry for those composers who work with a director who does not know what he wants, not to know how to say. For example, the director says, Mr. Foster, I would like an atonal cello. Perform an Atonal music. Well, it is clear what to do.

Rezae: Of course this is not so good.

Khalatbari: No, I mean, you will be challenged anyway. The director must know the genre of music he wants. In the West, many of the directors also know the composition. They also work together.

Toosi: Charlie Chaplin was a typical example, or Clint Eastwood has always been involved in making music for his films.

Khalatbari: Yes, many directors are also composing and can create songs and melodies, and can sing with their mouths. They prefer someone else to make music for their. In Iran, if someone knows a piece of music, he will certainly make his own music.

Rezae: Or he will leave some special comments.

Toosi: Yes, for example, Khosrow Sinai, who has been composing.

Dehkordi: What is the role of music in thought? For example, it is said “miseenscene” means all about a movie. The same thing that Massoud Kimayi always says. Is music a component of this property and is very close to art? There is a debate that all the components should have the property to recount the director’s narrative with their own tools and language. Here, the artistic role of music is much prominent, because it is only an art that is not descriptive.

Khalatbari: I believe that cinema that does not think is not cinema.

Dehkordi: For example, what is the relationship between Hollywood and thought?

Khlatbari: Why do you think that the cinema that does not have your way of thinking is not thoughtful? It is thoughtful. But you do not agree with its thoughts.

Dehkordi: For example, the film “Green Fire” by Mr. Mohammad Reza Aslani is associated with the Cinema of Thought. If we listen to Mr. Mohammad Reza Darvishi’s music, it seems he is talking about the story of his film.

Toosi: But you had built the thoughts around a mere elitism. I think the definition that Fardin has mentioned is different.

Dehkordi: His name is known as the Cinema of Thought. We want to say one thing in the Cinema and Literature magazine. That is, we are talking about the “Ganj-e Qarun”, but we are talking in a correct way. A movie like ” Ganj-e Qarun ” can be thoughtful.

Khalatbari: You see, dealing with a work and a social thought is another matter. For example, a philosopher can examine an abnormal social phenomenon. We are talking about a kind of cinema that has a philosophical basis. I cannot separate them.

Toosi: we can consider the same thoughtful concept for both “Casablanca” by Michael Curtiz or “Written on the Wind”, Douglas Sirk as a melodrama.

Dehkordi: Apart from all those talks, what are the characteristics of the film music?

Khalatbari: I believe that every art, like music, film making or novel art follows a logical flow. If you go out of your current stream, that’s wrong. Even different types of art creates a commitment and can be evaluated after being made. If not, then it is a time when we can say that we have reached chaos. Art is incidentally opposed to chaos. If we can come to a conclusion in terms of form, we can talk about a style or anything like that. Otherwise, the subject is relative. The story of the image and the sound always reaches a synthesis. That is, music is one thing and the image is something else. The combination of these two is neither music nor image. If something happens in the image rhythmically and we can dance it with a rhythmic music, then the implementation of these would be confusing. I’ll give you an example. The director says I would like to have an accent (emphasis) in music here. You put these accents, sometimes these accents are glued to the film cut. In rhythmic music, we have the corresponding proportions and objective replicas. Sometimes they do not match the image that is cut off. When this happens, it loses its rhythmic sequence. For this reason, most of the times the music editor takes that scene from us and assembles it once again.

Rezae: Such a thing happens rarely.

Khalatbari: Unfortunately, it happens in Iran. In Iranian cinema, people are divided into two categories. Those who want to experience all kinds of works, and those who are supposed to face each other down. A cinematographer, has made 40 films, and the young director who makes his first or second film, expects something from him. This rejection and governing develop a disorder in the work. Of course, in our country, we do not have the flow of producers and large filmmaking companies, and perhaps one of our problems is because of this lack of adaptability and people interfere in each other’s affairs. Even the editor, for example, interferes in the work of music, and vice versa … But one thing happens in this situation. Shahram Mokri makes films and he is being watched and ordered in the world. To many of these filmmakers who have 40 or 50 films, these orders are not issued by anyone outside Iran. Here again, we have to gather our senses that we face with a phenomenon called the cinema in the world, which pays attention to new ideas. That’s why they choose Asghar Farhadi from Iran in some way because he says something else. Then here, for example, someone has worked a few more films than Asghar Farhadi, who thinks that everyone has been trampled his right. Definitely it is not like that. Abbas Kia Rostami, like nobody in Iran, made films, and his films did not have the original music, and his selective pieces are often used limited in one or two sequences throughout the film.

Rezae: Farhadi does not use music too.

Khalatbari: Yes, Asghar Farhadi does not have a good relationship with text music after the movie “Fireworks Wednesday “.

Toosi: There are exceptions, of course. Kiarostami’s “Shirin” is basically dependent on sound and music. Or the Episode in the documentary “Persian Carpet”, by Kiarostami, is happened with the camera along with the voice of Miss Roshanak and a symphony of the Golha Program, on the design of an exquisite Persian hand-made carpet.

Khalatbari: That format is not made for these videos. I talked to Mr. Kiarostami about music so many times. Maybe many people will be surprised by this. I read a piece of French magazine written after Kiarostami’s opera. The author said that Kiarostami, “Through the Olive Trees”, is not very successful in his music videos. I do not want to confirm that publication. I asked Mr. Kiarostami why he had a concert in north of Iran. He said that he was writing like Artie Shaw, an American musician and clarinetist, and he had a lot of expressionistic definition about music. Then I said that in the final long shot of the “Through the Olive Trees “, a green lake could be used. He later put the oboe concert “Shima Rosa”, which is a perspective music. Incidentally, the author of that article spoke about the music that was rightly chosen.

Toosi: The use of the motif in one of the pieces in Amin Allah Hussein’s work named “Where is the friend’s house?” is also interesting in its own way.

Khalatbari: Yes, this poetic use is very correct. I remember at the beginning, “Through the Olive Trees” the music by Pink Floyd group was broadcast from the radio, and then found the copyright problem. The Director, Asghar Farhadi, who once made films like “Dancing in the dust” and “The Beautiful City”, suddenly decreased the use of music in his films and, incidentally, made successful films. A short time ago I told him why he didn’t use music. He answered “I want to use it in my next work”, which of course does not have that much music. Incidentally, if a director does not consciously use music in his film, I think that artwork would be worthwhile.

Toosi: a Director such as Hitchcock, , who has been keen on using long music in most of his films and has consistently collaborated with Bernard Hermann, shows how much excited he is. In the shining sequence of the crop-spraying in the movie “North by Northwest,” he makes the space acoustic. And he does not deliberately use the music in these six-seven minutes. Well, this privacy of space and location, and the removal of music and using the sound of the environment, which once or occasionally heard, is artistic.

Khalatbari: In this sequence, or the phone sequence in the movie “Munich” by Spielberg, with all the sounds interrupted, we are faced with some sort of sound design and control. For example, if we were a classic musician, we would definitely want to use all our energy in that sequence. In the sequence of the series “Zero Degree Turn” by Hassan Fathi, Ms. Laya Zanganeh kills herself. I was a friend of the sound designer and gave him a chance to remove the music. I asked him to let me decide in two or three sequences. One was the sequence. By deleting the music, I said, “Hang up your voice, and just put people’s feet.” It’s a dramatic sound capture. Or, for example, in these series, there was a montage of a Nazi attack on Paris. Naturally, in the selected documentaries of that period, there were the roar and the explosion of Master Schmidt’s planes, etc. I said that I could turn off these sounds because I had already appeased and this time I appeased and we turned off the voices, and I put a female song. It made it much more dramatic. We see less of this kind of breach and deconstruction in old classical music, and it goes on to a point where, for example, Christophe used the Russian ballad in the movie “What is the Time in Your World” memorably.

Rezai: Let me explain that in the film, with the exception of the Russian song, I borrowed two Cuban and Panamanian songs, and I had a regulation about the Cuban ballad close to the French harmonies. In another piece, I also refer to the song of a French poet, composer and singer, “Leo”. The name of this famous song is “In the Mean times.”

Toosi: One important point in this conversation is thatwe must admit that the film’s music has become an undeniable historical identity. Because the basis of the existence of some genres, such as Western, musical and melodrama has been dependent on music, for example, when you hear the music by Alfred Newman and Dimitri Tiomkin, a number of Western movies are brought to you. Likewise, music and songs from some of the old and well-known musical films create this familiar and nostalgic sense. For example, consider Dimitri Tiomkin’s music for “The Fall of the Roman Empire” by Anthony Mann, and Miklos Rozsa for the “King of the Kings” of Nicholas Ray and “El Cid” by Anthony Mann. In these movies in addition to their artistic values, they recall classical artworks too. In some genres, such as “horror” or trailer videos, music plays a crucial role in creating a sense of suspense and surprise or shocks. Or we should pay attention to the importance of music at the stage of development and change of comedy genre. In fact, part of identity of this genre or film noir depends on music. Now, the question arises whether the music can play a creative role in the revision and deconstruction of some genres, for example neo noir, or the combination of cinematic characters in a film such as “Fish and Cat” by Shahram Mokri?

Rezai: It can be.

Toosi: Did you reach that in “Fish and Cat”?


Rezai: I cannot comment on my work, because it’s experimental. The only thing I try to do is to create an innovation in my mind. When I encounter a movie like “Fish and Cat”, which has a horror theme, I dare not go to the horrible music scene. Of course I think of anxiety in the mind of the audience, but not with those instruments that are within the framework of the film’s music. This made me use a variety of simple tools like Jew’s harp. You see this in harmony too. But the interesting thing is that when I started composing music and choosing instruments I could not say what I was doing.

Toosi: isn’t movie music predicted and regular for you?

Rezai: No, really, because all these things are relative. I may have a perspective on the film when I read the scenario, and then when I talk with the director I reach a different perspective. Or maybe it’s possible when at the beginning of the cooperation I say that I want to do this and that to make the filmmaker feel comfortable. Then, when it happens, I’ll see something else happen.

Toosi: Given that some genres, such as the Western ones themselves, have gone to the archives of history, the Western music genre has lost its conventional use. But given the fact that some of the cinematic types, such as comedy, musical, monotonous and historical, still exist, how can one use music in such cases, which is accompanied by modern appealing audio (in the form of a genre)?

Khalatbari: This definition can be discussed.

Toosi: Have not genres like musicals and westerns been under the shadow of music? The movie “The Midday Adventures” begins with a single ballad. This is Dimitri Tiomkin’s ingenuity that uses the music of this song throughout the film with different variations and turns it into a motif. There is no longer any relative here. Should we know the prominent presence of Maurice Jarre in “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago” by David Lean relative? Or, in, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” by David Lean he uses whistle sounds as his music recurring element.

Khalatbari: Why do you think relative means to underestimate a work? Look! The concept of relative is not low. I’m saying if you give a cinematographer an example of a framing, and if you are such directors who do not look at the visor, and do not interfere with the frame selection, bring 10 cameras, and close 10 different boxes. What I say is relative, is what we are building on the cinema. For example, Christophe, apart from “A Dragon Arrives” has made the music of “Canaan” for Mani Haghighi, and there it is completely different from the “Dragon …”. Christophe does not make any melodic work. He actually doesn’t exist in the movie “A Dragon Arrives” based on the view that you have. There is a series of notes drawn up and creates a process that is perfectly in the service of the film.

Toosi: However, with its creative and effective presence, with its musical genre it makes the strange space melancholic, and it adds to the nightmare.

Khalatbari: Christophe’s music is felt there, but his instruments are not visible. This is also seen in the movie “Interstellar “. Hans Zimmer’s music accompanies the compositions and the two-time space. Of course, Christophe in “Dragon …” has the necessary aesthetics and has been able to help drama.

Toosi: It must have been so independent that it was able to capture the musical aspect of the film so attractive and recognizable. I as a spectator, may not be in line with the director’s view and world in “Dragon …” and that collage game, but from the perspective of a cinema lover, I cannot ignore to articulate the artistic taste of Christophe Rezai in making the music of this film, or the brilliant filming of Hooman Behmanesh. Consequently, most critics display a positive response to these two pillars of the “dragon …” with different tastes and perspectives.

Khalatbari: Think about what’s happening at that perfect location that Mani Haghighi has chosen which is very similar to the location of western films. For example, could you tell me what was happening if Christophe was supposed to use the theme of ” The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” by Annie Morricone? May be we said what a perfect music. But now when we are looking at it, we say, that’s a good music.

Rezai: In this respect, it is relative. If Fardin took over what I did on the “Dragon …” the atmosphere would change, and maybe very well responded. For example, I would love to work on Asghar Farhadi’s films, to see what would happen, Or to work a bit with a director. Indeed, how can we measure the goodness and badness of a work? Where does the work come from to be permanent?

Khalatbari: In the movie “The Artist” made by Michel Hazanavicius, that won the Oscar, you have a classic experience. But the interesting thing is that the film is in opposition to the silent period. The director denies a historical period in a way. On the other hand, in some movies like “James Bond”, you will experience the atmosphere of classical music. I admit that when we want to become familiar with something, we must come from the classic world. In fact, the classic is a source, but not the destination. It’s the same in composing. Classical harmony is a source, not destination. The artwork of the 21st century is not yet classic. They have not framed yet in order to explain it. For the same reason, colleges are stablished that are Fine Art and are no longer classics. This type of Schools sometimes by colleges that are very classic, are excluded. This distance, in fact, is much higher in the cinema. That is, if we can create a genre in music, we can almost have compassion and synchronization. The cinema of this era is a very strange thing. You see in a world-known festival, different movies, or different senses and attitudes are appreciated, all of which are good and you cannot say that they are bad. For example, the problem with our Fajr Festival is that the position of the comedy genre is never known. And it is rarely that a comedy wins. We must evaluate any work (considering the form) with itself. Of course, I love your bias towards the classics, it’s a respected fanaticism.

Toosi: Look, I do not want to be stopped at a golden age. Well, one reality cannot be ignored. Homayoun Dehkordi and I are among the people of this generation and as you say we are fanatic because we have seen the films on screen and our childhood and adolescence has been shaped by this type of cinema. For this reason, some kinds of music like, “Lawrence of Arabia” or the music of Jerry Fielding in “The Wild Bunch” or Jerry Goldsmith in “Papillion” and his prominent overture at the beginning of “Patton” and the music Nino Rota in “Eight and a Half Minutes” and “The Godfather” and also Alfred Newman and Tiomkin and Bernard Herman get so important and memorable for us. But I can scarcely find the continuity of this romance in the current cinema. For example, very good examples are the music in “In Bruges” by Carter Burwell or the music in “Amelie” by Yann Tiersen. These kinds of music also infiltrate people’s privacy.

Khalatbari: Of course, you should judge in any circumstances because of your job experience!

Toosi: No, I do not judge. I say why Mr. Morricone has such a great presence in my memory in “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” and “Once Upon a Time in America” and” Cinema Paradiso”! Why does Theodorakis in “Z” and “Stage of Siege” and “Zorba the Greek” stay more in my mind? But the music of this era is often not recorded in my mind and my memory.

Khalatbari: Because the function of music has changed in the cinema.

Toosi: Mr. Rezai! Based on the definition of music and its perfect kinds, I want to know that how a style of music that can create real excitement, not false, and the one that surprises audience, and emphasizes the dramatic lines in time ,and describe the place and time in a movie, is formed and placed on the agenda of a composer?

Rezai: It’s a new occurrence for every movie I’m working on. It is true that in my mind there is a variety of musical frameworks and styles, but these are a tool for me. It’s not a computation to say, for example, it is now horrified, and I have to use symphonic music, a string or a bass instrument, or use harmonies that are mostly on the minor side.

Toosi: Do you consider yourself a stylist composer?

Rezai: I try to apply all the styles. But in all the styles I use, it’s possible that the color belongs to me. I do not know if I can detect this. I think others should recognize this. Of course, while I use different styles in “Canaan”, “Dragon …”, “What’s the Time in Your World”, “Negar” and “Fish and Cat”, but they also have something in common too. have.

Toosi: are these common things explainable?

Rezai: No, I myself cannot explain.

Toosi: You do not have the intention to stick your work in my mind as a text music at the end of the movie by the instruments you choose or the theme that you want, and for example, how much my work in “Dragon”, this combination of two worlds and  different western and noir atmosphere and an attempt to achieve a musical expression and deconstruction (with borrowing indigenous tonality of the southern regions and percussion instruments and rituals) is well-informed and how much it is formed in your subconscious!

Rezai: I see three stages in the process of writing music. The two stages are completely conscious and one step is perfectly in the composer’s subconscious. This stage of the composer’s subconscious is his musical character. The common lines exist in this part of the subconscious so that I cannot explain myself again. Is it really a moment to create a theme or an idea to use a multi-tool mixer? I do not know what’s going to happen. But I can control two steps. One is before the creation stage, which includes the same things as I said before. Understanding more and more about light and heavy movie and analyzing it with the director and story is very important for me. Because it is like a background so that moment, that creation, that seed, that music must come out of this land. That is, the more I know about the movie, that part of the subconscious will grow much easier and better.

Toosi: Given the fact that you have worked with Mani Haghighi from his first film “Abadan”, how is it working with him and what features does he have in his career as a director in such cases?

Rezai: I like working with Mani, because it allows the composer to do his own work and only controls from far away. It’s very good that the director is like a leader to let everyone do his job. In the movie “Dragon… “, after we watched the film he allows me to make my own music with my own point of view. He accepted the etude for the first sequence (“when Amir Jadidi comes in front of the sea) and said: “It’s a very good music but I do not want this music genre.” We used a very minimal guitar that was looping (notes and rhythm that are continuously repeated). Then there were strings and perches that created fear from the beginning. But it was so melodic. He knew what he wanted and had a very clear impression. Then he explained that when composing a scenario, he had listened to a German or an American music who had a mini-metal electronic music with a note.

Khalatbari: Who dubbed the movie?

Rezai: Amir Hossein Qasemi.

Khalatbari: It was very good. This relationship between the composer and the one who dubs is also very important.

Toosi: That they do not eliminate each other and give each other a chance.

Rezai: Yes exactly.

Khalatbari: One music is loud. It is one affects. It only makes a difference in its level.

Rezai: In “Dragon …” Mr. Qasemi wanted to put less music, but I said: “No, I want music to be high.” What I did with Amir Hossein Qasemi was creating space between the pieces. For this reason, I say that in the work of music we have to serve the director. Here, Mani asked me to do something that was not in my head. In fact, he said “come to my mind”! It’s a southern part of Iran and I want cool electronic music. After this interference, I told myself that I should turn it into my own layer. And that eventually happened. The combination of some of the rhythms of the South , the sounds we have made, electronic music and …. Now, we have just a string.

Toosi: Did you listen to the music of the rituals?

Rezai: Yes, I recorded this kind of music alive and running, and I worked on it.

Khalatbari: Did you have group?

Rezai: No, the group “Kamakan” performed a very short loop of the ceremony.

Toosi: What do you think about the fact that your style is totally modern, compared to those composers who are most limited themselves to work in folklore, indigenous and regional forms? For example, Mohammad Reza Darvishi works with these types of tonalities of folk music, and Mr. Alizadeh in a different way. Do not you like these things?

Rezai: I love these two composers and I love their works. But our work has its own fans.

Toosi: As if you would like to add something to the themes and works rooted in a local geography. That is, let’s go beyond those traditional templates and signs.


Rezai: I know these things as tools that the composer has (including harmony and contrast, recognizing different styles, and recognizing modern popular music). This is very important. For example, what I did in “What’s the Time in Your World?” refers to Francois Truffaut’s work in “Jules and Jim”.

Toosi: Its Composer is Georges Delerue and Serge Rezvani has sung the song in the movie” Le Tourbillon”.

Rezai: Incidentally, he was an Iranian living in France. In the movie “What’s the Time in Your World?” It was clear that from the beginning three melodies should be used. Because they were part of the story. One is the “Dark eyes”, which is a Russian folklore, the character Laila Hatami remembers her youth. The character, Farhad, that Ali Mosafa played, whispers the song to remember Goli. Those two other melodies are more relevant to Safi Yazdanian’s biography and character. He remembers that when he was young, he heard these songs on Rasht Radio.

Khalatbari: In fact, it’s a Light Motif of a city.

Rezai: Safi Yazdanian is the light Motif of his memory. As I mentioned before, there is a Cuban melody that became global in the 40’s. Safi Yazdanian wanted the other two melodies to exist for sure. At first he thought that he could only make music with these two melodies. Then he realized that it was a bit and asked me to do this. Then we went looking for the singer of that time, Roozbeh Rakhsha. He was the same singer who, before the revolution, heard his voice on Rasht Radio. After revolution, he abandoned music and goes on business. He brings him back to sing these again. This also made the orchestration to be effective. With his sound ability, he could not do anything other than a guitar on his back. It has to be like that. And he was singing with his guitar (along with other instruments) on Rasht Radio.

Khalatbari: Now that guitar that you used in the text has played another person?

Rezai: Yes, there are several guitarists that one of whom is Mehrdad Pakbaz.

Toosi: Recently, if we consider the history of our own cinema, we can see how tune and cinematic performances of music have been subject to the cultural and professional conditions of the cinema at some stages. For example, in those developmental stages of the cinema and in the 1930s and 1940s, the only composer that made some realistic soundtracks, apart from composers such as Rouhollah Khaleqi and Yahaghi … who did not, in the specialized form, said they had made cinematic movie music, Morteza Hannaneh has created a soundtrack for “Pahlevan”, “Ferdowsi”, “The Bride of the Sea”, “Aroose Dejle”, “Sahele Entezar” and “The Pleasure of Sin”. Since the “New Wave”, we see the diversity in this area with the presence of composers such as Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh, Hormoz Farhat, Morteza Hannaneh, varoujan hakhbandian, Sheida Gharachedaghi, Loris Tjeknavorian, Mojtaba Mirzadeh and Hossein Vaseghi. Meanwhile, the melodious and lucid monotheistic works are more enjoyable for those who are interested in cinema. Now, in comparative and historical comparisons of cinema before and after the revolution, do you think that the film’s music has had a spontaneous growth? In a realistic look, was the era of the new wave a gradual identification of film music in Iranian cinema?

Khalatbari: what era do you consider as a new wave?

Toosi: It was since the year 1347 and lasted until 55 and 56. If we consider “Adobe and mirror” by Ibrahim Golestan, this film only uses a continuous and uniform sound of music as the only original title sequence that spins the camera around the streets of Istanbol during the night.

Khalatbari: Based on the view that you had to the classical cinema of the world and music in the Western cinema, which one example was Alex Norcia, I find it less in the cinema of the New Wave and in different periods.

Toosi: What is its origin? To the capacities of our cinema?

Khalatbari: it depends on the people’s knowledge from their music. I believe that even today, our contemporary music is far from what is commonplace and listened. It’s neither the fault of music, nor the others. This is the distance between our serious music producing and social processes. Our community is keen on popular music. In a period that you mentioned, we see a number of composers who are basically ballad writers.

Toosi: Yeah, since 20s till 50s ….

Khalatbari: I think that none of these courses we talk about, I mean the periods that the composers of the popular songs exist, is not an evolving stream in the expansion of melody and variations. They are mostly overtures. It’s as if overture of the songs or the melody section of the songs, karaoke music, is running with a different tempo. Even a bit after that, you can see it right now and we’re dealing with melodies that are going to be so bold. You can see them in the series these days. They want to replace the composer Solo, and they play violin once and flute the other time. These are far from the classical cinematic story we’re talking about, and we’ve never been close to that and never written a temp. We never write tempo based on the characters or based on the process of the story.

Toosi: Is that even true for “Fleeing the trap” by Morteza Hannaneh?

Khalatbari: Hannaneh or, for example, the emergence of a composition such as Loris Tjeknavarian, is a very exceptional one. I can even come forward and point out Ahmad Pejman. These were classical musicians and created one. The kind of director’s use of these has been again in the same way. Something that they like themselves. In classical cinema, there are some sections which orchestration is punctuated based on dialogue and monologue. We’ve seen them less in Iranian cinema. For example, sometimes a composer in a Western cinema writes a duet that is not essentially a duet, and it is a quartet and four voices. There are two people talking and a duet with it. It’s nice to know what the frequency is doing. It’s a classical thing, but we’re still experiencing it.

Toosi: If we want to study pathology of these existing and experienced situations, we will face composers such as Majid Entezami, Mohammad Reza Aghili, Kambiz Roshanravan, Peyman Yazdanian, Farhad Fakhreddini, Fereydoun Naseri, Ahmad Pejman, Hossein Alizadeh, Keyvan Jahanshahi, etc. They are going to die, disappear, or experience a weakness moment. In the case of yourself, this has happened in recent years.

Khalatbari: These are inevitable. Classical cinema preserves classic people. But the cinema, which is no longer classical and the director’s view is not that much good, would be limited to that certain period. You see a series of movie composers who are not like the composer of the film, but they are offering a pleasant music and make it for the movies. But what’s happening is that they give these composers a movie that is not in their work and musical form. There definitely this kind of music will not be suitable and it’s necessary to look in a classic way. I think that the composer must be able to make a variety of music.

Toosi: What about the space and condition? For example, Keyvan Jahanshahi quit his work. Or how much Peyman Yazdanian and Ahmad Pejman can spend their time or their own interests (outside the Medium of Cinema) to the release of their instrumental music?

Khalatbari: In this ruthless world of supply and demand, I have no answer. One day, for example, Fereydoun Nasseri was slowly forgotten. And the presence of composers such as Farhad Fakhreddini is sometimes forgotten.

Toosi: Or Shahbazian and Mohammad Reza Darvishi …

Khalatbari: For example, we had a very good composer that was Sheida Gharchedaghi, but from one period she disappeared from cinema. This flow is inevitable and is also seen in the Western cinema. Many young composers come from Spain and South America and … create new forms and frames. I think that the cinema is valuable in this case that nothing is absolute, whether it is a cinematographer, a sound editor or an editor. Even the director changes and new cinema is created.

Toosi: So with your own views, has our music grown up in the post-revolution cinema with all these ambiguities and variations?

Khalatbari: It will be improved with passing the time.



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