First Published: 2018-04-15

Cannes invite proves Iran cinema alive says banned director
Panahi praises state of Iranian cinema as ‘alive and dynamic’ after two films invited into main competition at Cannes.
Middle East Online

His new film "Three Faces" is one of 17 films competing for the Palme D'Or

TEHRAN - Iran's banned film director Jafar Panahi responded Sunday to his invitation to the Cannes Film Festival, calling it a sign that Iranian independent cinema is still alive despite "many threats".

"This year for the first time in the history of Iranian cinema, two films by Iranian filmmakers are in the main competition at Cannes. This is a sign that Iranian cinema is alive and dynamic," he wrote in an open letter carried by reformist news agency ILNA.

"But clearly this does not please those who want to see the death of independent cinema in Iran under any pretext and with many threats."

Panahi was banned from making films and leaving the country after supporting mass protests in 2009 and making a series of films that critiqued the state of modern Iran.

That has not stopped him from working clandestinely in the country and his 2015 film "Taxi" won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival to the consternation of his conservative critics back home.

His new film "Three Faces" is one of 17 films competing for the Palme D'Or at Cannes in May, alongside Iran's two-time Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi with "Everybody Knows".

Festival director Thierry Fremaux last week pleaded with Iran to let Panahi come to Cannes, while the Society of Iranian Film Directors wrote to President Hassan Rouhani requesting permission for him to leave.

"It is certain that... the pressure will continue, but independent cinema will try to preserve its independence with new voices," said Panahi in his letter.

"But my personal wish, my biggest wish as a filmmaker, is that my films are shown in Iran, even if it's only one single cinema in the most remote location."


Russia mulls supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria

Morocco, EU start talks on new fisheries deal

Bashir fires Sudan foreign minister

US has 'concerns' about Turkey holding fair vote under state of emergency

Saudi women embrace sports headscarves

Rouhani slams officials' 'vow of silence' in face of protests

Natalie Portman says backed out of Israel prize over Netanyahu

Rebels set to leave new area outside Damascus

FIFA to return to Morocco to check hotels, stadiums

Turkey in shock after violent Istanbul derby

Iraq pays first war reparations to Kuwait since 2014

Fiery kites adopted as new tactic by Gaza protesters

Romanian president slams plan to move Israel embassy

Western strikes on Syria bring no change whatsoever

Trump criticises OPEC for high oil prices

Syria says rebels south of capital surrender

Market has capacity to absorb higher oil prices: Saudi minister

Putin 'ready' for Trump summit

Saudi Arabia to host first public film screening

HRW criticises Lebanon for evicting Syria refugees

Saudi says intercepted ballistic missile from Yemen

Washington: Assad still has 'limited' chemical capability

European MPs urge US not to scrap Iran deal

Oil price soars to highest level in years

Two more pro-Kurdish MPs stripped of Turkey seats

Oil theft 'costing Libya over $750 million annually'

Turkey's snap polls: bold gambit or checkmate for Erdogan?

Iran arrests senior official over public concert

Bahrain sentences 24 to jail, strips citizenship

UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd's death sentence

Moderate quake strikes near Iran nuclear power plant

Syria regime forces caught in surprise IS attack

Turkey sentences 18 to life for killing ‘hero’ coup soldier

Exxon faces setback in Iraq as oil and water mix

Libya to clamp down on fuel smuggling

Yemen to arrest colonel for overlooking African migrant rape

Erdogan sends Turkey to snap polls on June 24

Qatar joins Gulf military exercise in apparent compromise

Saudi-Russia oil alliance likely to undercut OPEC

UN in security talks with Syria on chemical probe

Riyadh says two al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen

Record of women candidates in Lebanon, but you can't tell from TV

Sudan protests to UN over Egypt voting in disputed area

Erdogan calls Turkey snap polls for June 24

Rights watchdog say African migrants face rape, torture in Yemen