Niki Karimi on the set of 'A Few Days Later...'

Talking TIFF: Niki Karimi

Niki Karimi has built quite the resume in the Iranian film industry as an actress and also working with great directors like Abbas Kiarostami. Her second feature as a director, A Few Days Later..., is a bold film that is centered on repetition and daily routine, and had its world premiere here in Toronto.

There's lots to learn about Karimi on her website, but I had the chance to chat with her just before the first public screening of her movie and ask her a bit about the motivations that came behind it:

This film is essentially a character study about a woman in the process of thinking through a decision. What was the process in creating this story?
I can not tell you that it was really my intent to make a film like this, but this is the cinema that I like. I don't like the cinema that has too much of camera moving and all this. Also, one of the things that I like very much is the repetition of daily life. You know, the thing we do in the morning and then the day after you do the exact same thing and all this. I wanted to express all of my feelings as just three or four days of daily life.

The protagonist in this film takes her time to make decisions, unlike in most movies where decisions are made quickly. Does this thinking process, especially for a woman character, act as an empowering device for your audience?
The thing is that exactly what you are saying. When I see a film, I think, how can the decision making be like this: in our life we should think about what we want to do. And especially for the long time relationship she is involved with, and now suddenly the wife appears, and she needs to think about what she wants to do. Also, she wants to know about the man: what is his reaction when the wife comes back. And both of these need time. I love in stories, generally, I love this thinking part. It is exactly like life. And the first idea that made me make this film is struggling, and waiting, and thinking what we should do. I think it's very human.

Why is it important that you're here in Toronto, promoting the film?
It's my first time in Toronto, but I had heard about how it's a very big festival. But now I came and I wonder how big it really is. I have been to so many film festivals, but this festival is really great because so many things are happening, and there's a big market. And it has people who are a professional audience: not only directors, but writers, distributors, everybody. So, I love to know the reaction of Iranian society, but tonight is the screening, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how they react.

Tonight is the world premiere, and nobody has seen it before. We just finished with the technical things now. I don't consider my films for a special audience. I think some audiences, they like this, and some I know don't like this kind of thing. Because, when you turn TV on, or you have a DVD, your unconscious gets used to so many things: storytelling, commercials, actors, and so many things. And then, for sure, seeing these kinds of films needs that you are able to have a little bit of liking for this kind of film.

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Niki Karimi was born in Tehran and started acting in elementary school. Her film debut was in Jamshid Heydari's Temptation (89) and she went on to star in many notable Iranian films, including Behruz Afkhami's The Bride (90), Dariush Mehrjui's Sara (94) and Pari (95), both of which earned her several awards, and Tahmineh Milani's Two Women (99), The Hidden Half (01) and The Fifth Reaction (03). In addition to work as a screenwriter and translator, she directed her first film, the documentary To Have or Not to Have, in 2001. Her fiction features are One Night (05) and A Few Days Later... (06).

(Film Still: Niki Karimi)
(Director Bio: TIFFG)


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