tehranbureau An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora

Q&A | 'I've Only Been To The Cinema Once'

22 Oct 2012 06:36Comments
IMAGE634833021320163552.jpg He may defer to the Supreme Leader on all matters of taste, except maybe Bollywood...

[ interview ] You would think that a member of the Iranian parliament's cultural commission would have an interest in the arts. Not necessarily.

In a recent interview with Fars News Agency, Seyyed Morteza Hosseini, who was appointed to the commission in May, says he's not at all interested in the arts, reads only what the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei reads, and has been to the cinema only once.

The cultural commission was not his first choice.

Could you please introduce yourself?

Seyyed Morteza Hosseini, representative of the people of Qazvin. I am a religious scholar and for now, I am a parliamentarian.

How do you define culture?

Culture is a series of customs, traditions, rituals, and values, which some people define as "culture" and some as "religion."

What is the most important cultural activity that you have engaged in?

I have always done cultural work.

pic-(8)-1.jpgWhich cultural figure inspires you the most?

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, is the main source of my inspiration and my sole role model.

Was the parliament's cultural commission your first choice?

Actually, no. My first choices were in the security commission. Since the spots were already taken, I opted for this one.

Why do you think the cultural commission was less popular?

Because like all cultural activities, it is a victim. No one follows its instructions or cares about it. Naturally, people think twice before joining [the cultural commission], when it is ignored even by the parliament speaker and the parliament. A cultural commission has to be effective in what it does so it can make a change. If it is effective, it will undoubtedly be embraced.

What is the main reason that you chose the cultural commission?

Because I myself am a man of culture and the reason that I'm particularly interested in this field is because I believe that if the country's culture is set right, its security, industry and other infrastructure will follow suit. Whatever problems we are faced with today are because of our culture.

What is the main problem in our culture today?

Liberal arts schools. I believe that liberal arts and humanities are the main problem with our culture and this has led to predicaments in our management, because most of our managers today are liberal arts graduates.

How familiar are you with the cultural needs of the young Iranian generation? A lot, somewhat, a little?


What do you think is the main cultural necessity for the young generation?

Marriage and employment.

What would be the first thing you would have done if you were the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance?

I would have three main priorities: I would focus more on public culture; I would ensure the training of committed artists; and I would exert more control over cinema and theater.

If you weren't a parliamentarian what would have you done?

I would have been a cleric. I believe that a good religious leader is also capable of being a good leader for the public.

What was the last cultural activity that you engaged in?

All I do is cultural work.

What was the last film you saw?

Golden Leashes and I Am Tired.

Do you go to the cinema with your family?

Not until now. I have only been to the cinema once and that was just to see what this film that I just mentioned was about.

If you were a director, what subject would you have picked?

I think the history of our country and the eight-year war [with Iraq] have a lot of potential as far as film topics go. But most of the time they are ignored.

If you were an artist, what field of art would have been your preference?

I am not much of an art enthusiast. I am more interested in sociopolitical issues.

What is the last book you read?

A book by an Iranian war hero titled The Foot That Was Left Behind.

What is the most important book you've read?

I have read a lot of books, but I believe Shiism in Iran has been greatly important to me.

Who is your favorite writer?

Ayatollah Khamenei

Who is your favorite actor?

I'm not interested in following actors and actresses, but I believe whoever played the part of Joseph did a good job.

Who would you seek advice from in the commission?

I discuss many issues with many people. But it's not something I do a lot...

How many people do you know in contemporary revolutionary poetry?

I'm not very interested in this field. But I like whomever the leader likes and I approve whoever the leader approves.

What about in literature?

The same goes for literature.

What about in Cinema?

Same goes for cinema.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say these words:

Minister of Culture and guidance?

Good man.

Iranian cinema?

Tainted by the Western cultural invasion.

Javad Shamaqdari (Iranian Deputy Culture Minister for Cinematic Affairs)?

Not the same person he used to be.

The Head of the Parliament's Cultural Commission?

A great and accomplished man. A real moral role model.


Not interested.


A conglomeration of cultural invasion.

Iranian war cinema?

Very weak.

Cultural commission?

A group of good people, if only they could succeed

Bollywood films?

I will watch if it is on television.

Laleh (film)?

It has a lot of problems. If they are resolved, perhaps it would be good for foreigners.

What is your ultimate desire and wish?

To clean the liberal arts in Iran from westoxification.

@TehranBureau | TB on Facebook

SHAREtwitterfacebookSTUMBLEUPONbalatarin reddit digg del.icio.us
blog comments powered by Disqus

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.