INSC – Amir Mohaghegh: Jean-Michel Frodon is a French critic and the previous editor of the world renowned cinema journal Cahiers du Cinema. Frodon once also in charge of Le Monde newspaper’s film column, has spent his recent years teaching and writing books and recently hosted a Week of French Films in Iran. We spoke with Frodon following his visit to the INSC and discussed research in cinema and new methods of collaboration in cinema education.
Had you previously visited any of Iran’s film education institutes?
No, the INSC is the first one.
How was your first visit and initial impression?
The INSC building and its facilities possess a very high standard and, in the meeting I had with the CEO, I realized that Dr. Hosseini has many good ideas for the development of the school. The basics of the school seem suitable in every aspect but I cannot give a more detailed opinion about what occurs here.
What are your suggestions for a newly established national film school?
That’s a difficult question. Film schools are established with the aim of transferring technical film knowledge but, at the same time, they must train the filmmaker’s vision and mind. Therefore, I believe that one of the requirements of a film school is to accept diversity and a multitude of ideas regarding cinema. Teaching teamwork in cinema is also important; while cinema is a personal phenomenon, it is collaboration and teamwork that creates it and so, a film school, as well as working on students’ personal views must also train and strengthen their group skills.
How does the atmosphere, facilities, and the classes of the INSC compare to those of French film schools?
The building and the facilities I saw in this school are much more modern compared to French schools. In France, some of the film school buildings are a century old. The atmosphere here is very different in that regard. The space for dialogue and discussion among students outside of class, which has been designed in this school, is of the utmost importance. They’re able to speak about films from around the world and from film history, to discuss and analyze them, and to talk about why they like or dislike a film.
What opportunities do you see for the development of mutual projects between countries via film schools? Besides hosting classes and workshops.
The subject you’ve mentioned has a lot of potential on its own but must be implemented step by step. For managers and those in charge to sit and sign a contract sometimes has a very bureaucratic feeling. We must slowly expand small collaborations. Much like France, in Iran there’s a lot of potential and knowledge and love regarding cinema and I am sure that if certain agreements are made and situations for collaborations occur, the potential I mentioned will be realized.
In your opinion, what modern subjects in cinema require extensive research?
In my opinion, the most important subject is that of film distribution and how we watch films and the effect the viewing method has on the movie. The relationship between film theaters and the big screen, DVDs, television and online channels; in regards to both statistics and finances. Preserving the power of cinema in different audio visual methods. The connection between cinema and other art forms such as theater and music, due to the various similarities, is also a useful and important subject for research. This issue can be a cause for the connection between film students and students in other fields of art. Understanding the geography of a film’s distribution in the modern world is also important; realizing the potential of a film, based on its subject, and understanding whether it must be distributed locally or if it can be shown worldwide.