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Thoughts on Casting (Waiting for Kiarostami)

At the age of 17, I played the role of a mother to a 9 year old in the big blockbuster “Little Bird of Happiness” (“Parandeye Kuchake Khoshbakhti”) directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh. At the time, I had little emotional resources to relate to the feeling of a mother. I was a teenager with a strong Stanislavsky training under my belt and an immense natural motherly instinct, but none of these got me closer to the truth in those scenarios. Roles that followed were not dissimilar. Playing the mother of a ten-year-old in Rajab Mohammadin’s confiscated “Flower” (“Gol”) was no different. Yes, I could love the boy, care for and about him, but I couldn’t get closer to the feeling of a real-life mother. The same went for the little boy who was my son in the also confiscated “Buye Khoshe Ashenai” directed by Reza Sharifi.

It wasn’t until my recent on-screen acting revival in the family drama “Waiting for Kiarostami” directed by Hossein Khandan that I finally felt it from a place of truth. Being a mother in fiction. Decades of life experience and reaching a certain emotional maturity got me closer to the role and the make believe factor that I could be the mother of the two teenage girls cast as my daughters. An added bonus was that the mother figure in this feature drama became somewhat of an acting coach for her daughter who in the story is being considered for Kiarostami’s upcoming film in China (a project that never came to be due to the cineaste’s unexpected passing on July 4, 2016).

Here are some snapshots of moments during which we bonded as mother-daughters.

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