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Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Six - 30 September 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Six - 30 September 2023 - Page 8

Sacred Defense works need to attract greater audiences: Director

By Hamideh Hosseini
Staff writer

Hamed Mokammeli, a young theater director, writer, and actor known for his artistic works on various themes, including the Iraqi-imposed war in the 1980s, known as “The Sacred Defense”, shared his thoughts in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily.
He expressed a deep interest in exploring topics such as identity, culture, homeland, and ideology in his works, emphasizing their significance in exploring the human psyche.
According to Mokammeli, these themes and concepts are necessary because they define our sense of self and unity. Certain factors can threaten the authenticity and unity of these concepts, making it crucial to address issues such as identity disruptions and the deterioration of homelands, often caused by war. To him, war encompasses more than just physical battles; it disrupts matters that are highly important to individuals.
Mokammeli stressed that losing any of these core concepts, including identity and homeland, equates a loss of dignity. He acknowledges that people tolerate hardships and challenging circumstances to survive, even when it means sacrificing their dignity.
From his perspective, the meanings of words have become vague and require redefinition in contemporary times. He noted historical eras in Iran when words like war, identity, country, people, and culture were redefined, emphasizing the importance of evolving language to reflect current conditions. This redefinition is particularly necessary when discussing topics like war and the Sacred Defense, in the context of today’s world.
Mokammeli also explored the genre of dark comedy as a means to talk about bitter subjects like war, believing that humor can make the seriousness of war more tolerable to the audience, even though it ultimately involves life and death.
Regarding the engagement of audiences, he suggested that deconstruction and changes in approach are essential. Exploring new angles and perspectives can lead to a new understanding of topics like war.
Mokammeli’s portfolio includes works like ‘Sweet Soil,’ ‘This Photo Will Remain,’ ‘Beyond the Dream,’ and ‘Jaleh Ambush,’ where he offers diverse perspectives on war. For instance, ‘Sweet Soil’ considers the theme of love amid war, highlighting the choices people make under pressure.
He noted that as discussions evolve, audiences gradually come to terms with themes, even connecting with them from the beginning. ‘Jaleh Ambush’ exemplifies how this deconstruction has allowed younger individuals without direct war experiences to engage in discussions about war, touching on common human issues like love, success, family, and the future.
Mokammeli finds heroism to be a complex and subjective concept, where individuals in ordinary lives, faced with anger, war, and pressure, can be considered heroes when they make courageous choices, even at the cost of their lives.
He emphasized recognizing and remembering those who defend their homeland and contribute to its growth and excellence, mentioning figures such as Ferdowsi, Bahram Beyza’i, and Mohammadreza Shajarian among others.
Mokammeli is currently working on a project related to Ariobarzanes of Persis, the last Persian general who defended his homeland against Alexander the Great, emphasizing the significance of this historical defense.
In Mokammeli’s view, artists must adapt to their current context, redefining traditions and concepts to remain relevant. Sticking to past definitions and words leads to stagnation, making it essential to redefine and evolve with the times. He highlighted the necessity of redefining words and concepts to continue offering meaningful contributions.
Discussing challenges in producing artworks, including those related to the Sacred Defense, Mokammeli acknowledges that limitations and personal preferences cannot force all artistic works into a single form. Attempting such uniformity only results in delays and increased challenges.

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