Jafar Panahi – latest film at the Berlin Film Festival


i have blogged about the plight of Iranian film maker Jafar Panahi before, he is currently under house arrest, forbidden to make films, write screenplays, edit film, speak to journalists or leave the country.
His last film “This is not a film” was smuggled out of Iran – look for it on t’interweb, its out there and was made in defiance of this blanket cultural ban.

His latest film was previewed at the Berlin Film Festival last week, obviously Panahi could not be there himself, instead a large cut out photo of him stood in place of the director.

Iranian film has been decimated by a fundamentalist Islamic government, with many filmmakers in exile, unable to work, in fear of draconian bans of their creative freedom.

Panahis’ “Closed Curtain” does not currently have a cinematic release in the UK, if this changes, please, please support freedom of expression in Iran by going to see it.

Amnesty International currently are campaigning on behalf of Panahi [ links in the side bar].

Iranian cinema is extraordinary and important in terms of world cinema, if you love film and believe in cultural freedom, please get involved;
Join the Amnesty International campaign
Feel free to re-blog this article
Watch his [ and other Iranian film makers] work
Make some noise – his high international profile is probably the thing keeping him safest at the moment.

Iran has complained to the organizers of the Berlin film festival for giving Iranian director Jafar Panahi an award for an allegorical movie made in defiance of a 20-year state ban.

Panahi shared the best script prize at Berlin on Saturday for “Closed Curtain” with co-director Kamboziya Partovi for a film made in secret, which mirrors aspects of Panahi’s life under house arrest in the Islamic Republic.

“We have protested to the Berlin film festival. Its officials should amend their behavior because in cultural and cinematic exchange, this is not correct,” said Javad Shamaqdari, the head of Iran’s national cinema organization, Iran’s student news agency (ISNA) reported on Monday.

The movie follows the story of two people on the run from state security and is considered by critics to be a multi-layered portrayal of how restrictions on the filmmaker’s work and movement have brought on depression and even thoughts of suicide.

Iran banned Panahi from making films for 20 years in 2010 and sentenced him to six years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the state” following the country’s 2009 disputed presidential election.

While he remains at home under house arrest, Panahi has previously described himself as a victim of injustice and an Amnesty International statement published at the time of his conviction said he may be forced to report to prison at any time.

“Everyone knows that a license is needed to make films in our country and send them abroad but there are a small number who make films and send them out without a license. This is an offense … but so far the Islamic Republic has been patient with such behavior,” Shamaqdari said without mentioning Panahi or the film by name, ISNA reported.

A celebrated filmmaker in the West for his portrayals of issues such as women’s rights and support for political opposition, Panahi was not able to attend the Berlin festival.

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About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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