Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Oppressed Iranian Filmmakers Jafar Panahi & Mohammad Rasoulof To Debut New Work At Cannes

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 9, 2011 at 1:41AM

2011 so far has been an extraordinary, tumultuous time in the Middle East. From the protests in Egypt that swept across the region, to the death last week of Osama Bin Laden, the floodgates seem to be opening for real change in a way reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's set to be a messier transition -- violence continues in Egypt, in Libya and in Bahrain, among others -- but there's plenty of reason for optimism. Unfortunately, one thing remains true in the Middle East: the governing forces of Iran are still an oppressive pack of c***s.
1


2011 so far has been an extraordinary, tumultuous time in the Middle East. From the protests in Egypt that swept across the region, to the death last week of Osama Bin Laden, the floodgates seem to be opening for real change in a way reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's set to be a messier transition -- violence continues in Egypt, in Libya and in Bahrain, among others -- but there's plenty of reason for optimism. Unfortunately, one thing remains true in the Middle East: the governing forces of Iran are still an oppressive pack of c***s.

A list of their violations of human rights and decency would be nearly endless, but for our purposes here, the most relevant aspect is their oppression of artists in general, and filmmakers specifically. Despite an incredibly vibrant film scene, birthing internationally regarded directors like Abbas Kiarostami, filmmaking has become an increasingly dangerous profession, with two of the country's leading lights, Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof being arrested last year, convicted of making "propaganda against the system" and sentenced to seven-year jail terms, as well as being banned from moviemaking for 20 years. The pair, responsible for films like "The Circle," "Crimson Gold," and "The White Meadows," haven't been cowed, however, as the Cannes Film Festival has announced that new work from both directors has been added at the last minute to this year's line-up.

Both films seem to be responses to their current condition. Panahi's picture, a documentary collaboration with a former assistant director, Mojitaba Mirtahmasb entitled "This Is Not A Film," follows a day in Panahi's life as he awaits the verdict of an appeal against his sentence, as well as painting a picture of what it is to be a filmmaker in Iran at present. Rasoulof's film, entitled "Good Bye," is in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, and is a fictional feature, shot over the winter, about a young female lawyer's attempt to obtain a visa to leave Iran.

Both films were seemingly shot "under semi-clandestine conditions," but it's clear that the directors aren't afraid of the consequences: Panahi wrote to the festival on May 5th that, "The reality of being alive and the dream of keeping Iranian filmmaking intact have motivated us to overcome the restrictions that we are up against... Our problems are also our greatest resource. Understanding this promising paradox encourages us not to lose hope, and to continue on our path. The world will always have its problems, big and small; but it is our duty not to be defeated and to look for solutions." Quite frankly, these guys are our heroes.

Panahi's film will screen on the Croisette in a Special Screening as part of the Official Selection on May 20th, while Rasoulof's will bow on May 14th, and we'd encourage anyone attending the festival to show their support for the pair by attending. And if you want to show your support from home, Amnesty International can help you out on that front. Hopefully, sense will prevail, and we'll see much more output from both directors at festivals around the world in the years to come. [Festival de Cannes]

This article is related to: Foreign Directors, Mohammad Rasoulof


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates