Iranian filmmakers face fight or flight in chaos – Variety


The death of Martha Amini by the Iranian Morality Police in September sparked a wave of protests across Iran. iranian movies.

But as 2023 begins, more than 500 people protesting her death and calling for justice have been killed, and prominent figures in the Iranian film industry have been arrested, tried or banned from making films. As a result, the country’s film community has largely come to a standstill.

Unless something changes, how many of the films actually shot in Iran will make it onto the international festival circuit in the future?

In 2022, the Iran-based director has competed in all major international film festivals and won major awards. Respected film director Jafar Panahi won the Venice Special Jury Prize for ‘No Bears’ and Iran’s International Oscar nominee Hooman Sayedi’s tragicomedy ‘The Third World War’ was directed by him on the island of Lido. I scooped up two statuettes.

But 2023 kicks off with only films by Iranian diaspora directors on the Fest circuit.

And the widening divide between Iranian foreign directors and Iranian filmmakers living in Iran stands out at the Berlinale.

Entitled ‘Films as Tools of Resistance’, the Berlin panorama section kicks off with Paris-based Sepideh Farsi’s feature ‘The Siren’, a timely look at the war between Iran and Iraq. By the way, this section also includes “And Also included is a document titled “To the Happy Alley”. ”

But the only film in this year’s Berlin selection from the Iran-based director is Negin Ahmadi’s documentary Gates of Dreams, which depicts an all-female Kurdish militia in northern Syria.

Carlo Chatrian, Berlin’s artistic director, says that this year he has actually received more entries from Iran than ever before. But the festival’s selection committee was skeptical of Iranian films, many of which were from government-owned companies. why? “Because to them, it’s a statement of ‘OK, this is not true what people overseas are saying about us,'” he said.

Chatrian added: [from Iran] Although they appear independent from the outside, they are not completely independent.” It can be considered a form of government propaganda.

In solidarity with the protests sparked by Amini’s death, the Berlinale has supported the Iranian government’s support of the Farabi Cinema Foundation, a national Iranian film promotion organization that has been participating in Berlin’s European Film Market for years. Banned the film industry association.

And on February 18th, an event will take place on the red carpet of Berlinale Palast, highlighting Fest’s position against Iran’s repressive regime.

Berlin executive director Mariette Lissenbeek noted that it will be increasingly difficult for Iranian filmmakers, most of whom are anti-government, to make films these days. “They are for freedom of expression, which is exactly what the Iranian state is trying to fight now,” she said.

Of course that is true.

“Iranian cinema is currently under attack in Iran,” said Sayedy, a “World War III” helmer, in an email interview from Tehran. “As a middle-aged man deeply involved in current issues, I don’t know if I can really start making another movie in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.” ”

According to Mohammad Attebai, head of Iran Independent, a Tehran-based distribution company, at the moment “Iran’s nearly 50% inflation and its stringent censorship code discourage investment in the film.”

“Like many other filmmakers in the country, there are many filmmakers trying to emigrate because they find it impossible to continue living in Iran,” Athebay said.

“They can no longer tolerate censorship getting worse and filmmaking slowing down dramatically,” he said.

Currently, most artists are prohibited from traveling outside of Iran.

Importantly, a two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi, Iran’s most famous director, is currently working on his new film in Los Angeles and Europe. Farhadi was at the Zurich Film Festival when protests erupted following Amini’s death. He expressed his support for the protests and then returned to Iran.

Persi, who is based in Paris, feels a greater responsibility as a director of the Iranian diaspora, “to carry the banner of making films that relate and relate to Iran, if not directly.” Said there was

“I don’t know how the ‘siren’ will move,” she pointed out. “But I certainly want the Iranian people to see it.

“There is hope in the ending of the film, and I want people to feel it as the radiance of the Iranian sun in the near future, because I really hope that we will be victorious soon.”

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