Posted February 14, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features

Director Rafi Pitts

The excellent film The Hunter is out now on DVD.

The Hunter seems like a good
companion piece to your last film “It’s Winter”. Both feature men at odds with the system. Was that

I think this film is the flip side
of the coin. Whereas the characters were hit by weather in my previous film,
here they hit back at the system. One wouldn’t go well without the other and in
effect each is the reason for the other.

Did you always have yourself in
mind to play the central role of Ali?

Actually that came about due to the
Board of Censorship. Originally I had another actor lined up for the part but
not on paper and all the correct permissions to shoot when suddenly these riots
broke out. It would have been very difficult to get the authorities to agree to
another shoot and very time-consuming. My name was already down as a film-maker
and so I didn’t want to go back as it seemed too risky so it made more sense to
cast myself in the role and get the film made.

What gave you the idea for this

It actually came from several different
strands. I wanted to make a neo-realistic western with a thriller element and
yet also make a film which was relevant to young Iranians. Over seventy per
cent of the country is under thirty and their rage and disillusionment needed
discussing. I found the character himself intriguing, finding out what would
happen to him when this rage erupted into something dangerous.

The authorities in the film are
depicted as cold and detached. Is that how you’ve found them in your

The authorities themselves have an
almost Kafka-esque feel to them. When they don’t take care of human beings
anymore and leave them to be alone then there is chaos. We’re living in a world
where the powers in charge have forgotten about the simple man on the street.
The economy is not serving humanity anymore, it’s the other way around and I
felt that the film showed how there’s not much left in this world for the
average guy.

Do you feel that it’s easier to
make you voice heard on film therefore rather that in a large scale protest?

I’m a film-maker concerned about my
fellow man. I think we need to question what’s happening to society and people
when they feel that they have no future. I’m passionate about communicating
this through film and what politicians do with that it up to them

Ali is a largely wordless man
with a lot to say though. What points were you trying to make with this

It’s more about what happens when
you can’t express yourself anymore; you’re going to explode. Ali’s quietness
suggests what’s going on in his mind. Silence is a pretty universal language
you know. It gives reasons for his actions in the film and in fact I think it
has more dialogue than any of my other films!

What role do you find more
fulfilling then. Actor, Writer or Director?

Film-making is my passion. Had I
have had any other choice then I wouldn’t have gone in front of the camera.

So you’ve no plans to star again
in your own films?

It was a good experience and I would
do it again under the direction of someone else but I found directing myself
difficult and yet at times rewarding. One scene in particular where Ali is told
the news about his wife and daughter I had to draw on my own personal
experience of being given such bad news about a friend and then use that experience
as a starting reference.

Finally, what’s next in the
pipeline for you?

I’m very concerned about two
film-maker friends of mine (Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof) who have been sentenced to 6 years
in prison and banned from film-making and talking to the media for twenty years
so I want to do my best to help them before I start back on another project.
They’re two of the most important film-makers in the country and I find it
distressing that if you want to make a film that has any social voice then it’s
seen to be a crime. That has to change.

The Hunter is now
on DVD.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.