The Cannes festival reported today that convicted Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof had been cleared by authorities to travel to France, but said it was awaiting confirmation. A court in December sentenced Rasoulof, along with fellow prominent director Jafar Panahi, to six years in jail and barred him from making films for 20 years. The two were released on bail pending an appeal but banned from travel abroad. “We are happy, if confirmed, that Rasoulof can come and then we will re-show his film, but we will only be really happy when his appeal and that of Jafar Panahi have been completed,” said Cannes Festival Director Thierry Fremaux. “When the love of art combines with the creator’s freedom, the festival is pleased to be able to contribute to this flowering,” said Festival President Gilles Jacob.
Cannes organizers have said Rasoulof’s film Good-bye, screened on May 14th, was made in “semi-clandestine conditions,” but his lawyer said Rasoulof had received official permission to make the feature. Iran has accused the Cannes film festival of playing politics by screening movies by Iranians who back the Islamic republic’s opposition movement, including Panahi, whose video diary This Is Not a Film will be screened on May 20th in Cannes.
Mohammad Rasoulof, Bé omid é didar (Good-bye), 2011