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Will Venice protests help or hurt Iranian filmmakers?

Venice Film Festival Celebrating Iranian Cinema – Four Iranian films in 2000 Screening th Biennale — Back home in Tehran, Iranian filmmakers and artists are facing the harshest crackdown in decades.

The hard-line government of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi has increased pressure on dissident artists and all critics of the regime to act. In July, authorities arrested three prominent directors: Mostafa Al-eahmad (2011 of Poosteh), 2009 Berlin Golden Bear winner Mohammad Rasoulof ( There Is No Evil ) and Jafar Panahi , Venice Golden Lion Winner Dayereh (20) and the Berlin Golden Bears Prize Taxi (2020).

Al-eahmad and Rasoulof are some 170 famous Iranian Filmmakers, artists and actors signed an open letter in May 79 calling for the The country deployed security forces to “lay down their arms” and stand with the people against what the letter describes as a government riddled with “corruption, theft, inefficiency and repression.” This letter is in response to – City of Abadan The story of the building killed dozens of people.

August. , Iran, a government agency linked to the Iranian Ministry of Culture, has taken the unusual step of announcing that it will soon publish a “blacklist” of filmmakers unless they drop their opposition to the regime, Otherwise they will be banned from working.

Openly distanced itself from it, claiming they didn’t know what they were signing,” a prominent Iranian producer told The Hollywood Reporter , on condition of anonymity.

Panahi, one of Iran’s most famous and acclaimed directors, was questioning Rasolov at the prosecutor’s office Arrested in case of arrest. In 2011, Panahi and Rasoulof were shot 2011 – Banned from film and sentenced to years in prison for alleged anti-government propaganda, although both continue to work in secret, neither has been imprisoned until now.

Human Rights Watch said the recent arrests were part of a broader crackdown on dissidents driven by Tehran’s desire to divert attention from “deteriorating economic conditions” at home, The country is in the midst of a severe economic recession and an apparent impasse as the government tries to revive the nuclear deal with the international community. Iranian authorities have also stepped up their repression of women, Introduced new restrictions on women’s dress and tightened enforcement of the country’s mandatory hijab rule.

“It all comes together, the regime has always been the enemy of film, art and women, Because they are all symbols of modernity,” said Shiva Rahbaran of London, an Iranian writer and author of uncensored Iranian films. Government censorship and repression, she said, was a “Groundhog Day phenomenon” in Iran, and the regime in Tehran “slightly Open up a little, create a little gap, take a breath, and then once the often criticized film and its makers crack down again becomes too popular among the people.

But she said the current crackdown is one step higher than ever. Rahbaran pointed to a statement by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei hoping to The country brought it back 10, just after the Islamic Revolution, “the Islamic ideology was very strong at that time, The revolution has a very broad base among the people. “The problem, Rahbaran said, is that Iranian society has moved forward. The majority in the country does not support religious hardliners but dissident filmmakers.

become,” she noted. “A filmmaker like [two-time Oscar winner] Asghar Farhadi, who has never used his platform to criticize a brutal regime, is very unpopular in Iran, and he has a different place among the people.”

In addition to picking four Iranian films this year – Panashi’s latest film, No Bear , and Washi Dejalivand’s Beyond the Wall will be in Lido, Houman Seyedi’s World War 3 and Arian Vazirdaftari’s premiere in the match in Venice’s skyline sidebar without her – Venice will pass a series of public display of so-called “maximum solidarity” events with Iranian directors , including a “Flash Mob” on the red carpet on September 9, just before No Bears before the premiere. Directors, actors and other dignitaries will be invited to hold up the names of imprisoned artists, including Rasoloff and Panahi. A panel discussion in Venice on September 3 will discuss the situation of persecuted directors around the world and discuss what others in the film industry can do to help.

Film festival protests of this type are not new. Cannes Film Festival slams Tehran at 79 opening, leaving Panahi Symbolic empty chair. Despite being under house arrest and unable to leave Iran, he was invited to join the competition jury. Berlin made a similar Panache “empty chair” gesture in 2009. Like Cannes, Berlin has Panahi on the jury. Several major film festivals, including Cannes, Venice and Berlin, have publicly called for the release of all dissident filmmakers imprisoned in Iran.

It is hoped that the public pressure generated by such statements and protests will force changes and improvements in the situation of local filmmakers. But some warn they could have the opposite effect.

“The new government is a hardliner, and the most important thing for them is to demonstrate their tough anti-Western, anti-American credentials,” said a man with decades of experience negotiating government review rules The Iranian producer noted. “When an international film festival puts on a show and puts on an empty chair for Panache in Berlin or something, it causes the regime to crack down on filmmakers harder.”

The success of Ali AbbasiHoly Spider This year’s CANNES – The Iranian serial killer drama won an immediate backlash for Zar Amir-Ebrahimi’s Best Actress honor. Iran’s Culture Minister Mehdi Esmaili warned that those who worked for Holy Spider would be “punished”, sparking speculation over the fate of film’s Iran-based editor Hayedeh The concerns of Safiyari. (Abbasi and most of the film’s cast and crew, including Emir Ebrahimi, live outside Iran.)

system,” the producer said. ” Too much attention will make it harder for these directors to get out of jail because 12352057681235152019 The government wants to show that they are not listening to Western voices and Western demands. “

However, many see Iran’s recent crackdown as the last blow to the dying regime.

“It’s definitely fear and weakness, lack of Popularity, the performance of a government that lacks public support,” Rabalan said. “It will make life more difficult for artists and people. But how many filmmakers and how many women can go to jail? How many people can they kill? “



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