The way I see it: Bahman Ghobadi

Ghobadi is a Kurdish-Iranian film director. His first feature, “A Time for Drunken Horses” (2000), w

1 Does art make a difference?

Yes, 100 per cent. If we look at history and the events of the world, we find art affects us in a positive way. Art has a very big impact on most events – for example, in a revolution or a transformation of a society.

2 Should politics and art mix?

I think it is better to separate art from politics, because whenever they mix, the art suffers.

3 Is your work for the many or for the few?

I make films for everybody. In our time, there is no separation between the individual and the group.

4 If you were world leader, what would be your first law?

If I were world leader, I would put 60 per cent of the budget into creating cultural and artistic institutions to give art a bigger place in society. I would make some sort of cultural revolution, and clean the world from war.

5 Who would be your top advisers?

My mother and my older sister.

6 What, if anything, would you censor?

I never did censor and will never allow censorship, but maybe I would advise artists not to insult religion or be racist in their work.

7 If you had to banish one public figure, who would it be?

The person who created atomic bombs.

8 What are the rules that you live by?

I have recently understood that the philosophy of life is joy. Therefore, I try to enjoy everything in my life: making films, friends.

9 Do you love your country?

I love my country so much, but I look upon the world as my home. A few days ago, I looked at the sky and saw hundreds of stars and planets, and thought about how small I am, and my planet in this galaxy. But we cannot even take care of this small home.

10 Are we all doomed?

I think about death most of the time, but something inside of me shouts that doom does not exist. We will all be born again in a different place as a different person, and maybe in a different world. When I think like that, it raises my hopes and makes me feel relaxed.

This article first appeared in the 14 January 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Obama unmasked