Scheduled to premiere in the U.S. at Chicago's "Festival of Films from Iran" series later this month, Abdolreza Kahani's "Absolutely Tame is A Horse" -- a drama about police corruption -- has been banned from screening both inside and outside of Iran.
According to the Gene Siskel Film Center's website, the screenings were "canceled due to the fact that the Iranian government has banned the film and prevented the projection copy from leaving Iran." Unfortunately, the old smuggling a flash-drive-copy-into-a-cake scheme wouldn't fly again, after Jafar Panahi's "This Is Not a Film" apparently took that route to Cannes earlier this year.
According to a Variety story on the ban, the film's world premiere at the Abu Dhabi film festival was also canceled. The story is set against the backdrop of one long night in Tehran, and tackles the police corruption subject as a jumping-off point, according to Variety.
"It's sad when we can't show a good work as our mission is to highlight regional and international cinema," Peter Scarlet, exec director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, told Variety. "It's an outstanding film that people won't get to see now."
The fact that the world premiere of this film isn't happening, and by all accounts may not be shown anywhere, makes me very sad," he continued.
Ironically in September, “Absolutely Tame Is a Horse” actually gained the approval of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for screening, according to the Tehran Times.
The film's distributor, Filmiran, was planning to premiere the film in Iran. But something must have happened on the way to the theater.
Director Abdorreza Kahani has criticized the Culture Ministry for imposing restrictions on his films before. Last year, Kahani’s “Nothing,” about a man who is suffering from gluttony, failed to obtain a screening license from the Culture Ministry until he agreed to cut some scenes from the film.