The Cannes Film Festival announced on Monday that Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof will be screening two films that were smuggled outside the country in recent days. Both directors have appealed their sentences of six years in prison and a 20-year ban on filmmaking.
Jafar Panahi wrote to the Cannes Film Festival Festival on May 5th: “Our problems are also all of our assets. Understanding this promising paradox helped us not to lose hope, and to be able to go on since we believe wherever in the world that we live, we are going to face problems, big or small. But it is our duty not to be defeated and to find solutions … The reality of being alive and the dream of keeping cinema alive motivated us to go through the existing limitations in Iranian cinema.”
This Is Not a Film (In Film Nist) by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (2011, 75 min.) documents one day in Panahi’s long months of waiting for the verdict of his court appeal, offering an overview of the current situation of Iranian cinema. The film is a Special Screening in the Official Selection (Fri, May 20th).
Good Bye (Be Omid Didaar) by Mohammad Rasoulof (2011, 100 min.) is the story of a young female lawyer in Tehran trying to get a visa to leave the country. It is screening in the Official Selection, Un Certain Regard, and will be shown on Saturday, May 14th.
“Mohammad Rasoulof’s film and the conditions under which it was made, and Jafar Panahi’s diary of his daily life as an artist who is not allowed to work, are films which, by their very existence, represent the filmmakers’ resistance against the sentence they have been handed down. Sending these films to Cannes, at the same time, the same year, when they face the same fate, is an act of courage and also an extraordinary artistic message,” declared Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux, codirectors of the Festival.