a movie of jafar panahi, who is detained in Iran for protesting against the arrest of two colleagues, closed the competition on Friday. Winner of the Venice Golden Lion for The circle (2000) and the Golden Bear in Berlin for Taxi Tehran (2015), was unable to attend the showbut compete with bears don’t existemblem of a form of terror with which people can be cornered.
Two parallel love stories, one in Tehran, the capital, and the other in a town on the border with Turkey, from where a filmmaker (played by Panahi himself) directs his team via the Internet, end up describing the traditions and the very contradictions of those who are forced to remain locked up in their own country.
Alberto Barbera, Julianne Moore and director Sally Potter hold a banner showing Jafar Panahi, calling for his release. AFP photo
Applauded when it was shown to the press, the film respects the filmmaker’s style by mixing stories and at the same time offers a portrait of the difficulties he goes through to make a film without ending up in jail or forced to flee forever.
“We create works that are not commissions, which is why those in power see us as criminals,” Panahi wrote in a public letter to the Venice Film Festival. The dissident artist, one of his country’s most awarded filmmakers, was arrested and sentenced in 2010 to six years in prison with a 20-year ban on directing or writing films, traveling or even speaking to the media.
The show of support for the director, who had already won the Golden Lion at the Mostra with “El Círculo” (2000), was massive. Reuters Photo
However, he continued to work and live in Iran. He was found guilty of “propaganda against the regime” after supporting the 2009 protest movement against the re-election of ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of the Islamic Republic. On July 11, Panahi was arrested while entering the Tehran prosecutor’s office to follow up on the case of his colleague Mohammad Rasoulof, detained since July 8.
“The history of Iranian cinema is testimony to the constant and active presence of independent directors who have fought against censorship and to ensure the survival of that art. Some have been banned from making films, others have been forced into exile or have been reduced to total isolation,” the filmmaker denounced in his letter.
Jafar Panahi, in a file photo. Will your film win an award this Saturday, September 10?
His compatriot Vahid Jalilvand, author of the second Iranian film in competition at the Mostra and present at the Lido, also expressed his support. “No artist or intellectual should be in prison, whether in Iran or anywhere else in the world,” he lamented in a talk with AFP.
The subtle game of cat and mouse between the filmmaker and the Islamic authorities has so far allowed Panahi to continue filming, although the situation has now worsened with his imprisonment. “Free Jafar!” asked this Friday the director of the Mostra, Alberto Barbera, who fears retaliation against the artist. “We are afraid of what might happen to him,” Barbera confessed.
While cinema is silenced within that country, its prestige grows abroad for its creative and current cinema.
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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com