Cannes festival supports Iranian directors

For all its glamour and pizzazz, the Cannes Festival has always provided active support to film directors that are targeted by the authorities. It is notably supportive of Iranian directors faced with a very repressive regime.

It recently put a spotlight on the treatment of several notable Iranians that find themselves in the firing line of the authorities. On July 8, 2022, it issued a statement condemning the arrest and disappearance of three notable figures of Iranian cinema. Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad were arrested and imprisoned at an unknown location for protesting the recent violence against civilians in Iran.

High regard for Iranian directors

poster of "a Man of Integrity" by Iranian directors Mohammad Rasoulof
Poster of “A Man of Integrity”

Mohammad Rasoulof had already been arrested in 2017, following the screening of his film “A Man of Integrity” (Lerd), which won the Un Certain Regard Award at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. His films Manuscripts Don’t Burn”, which won the Fipresci Prize in 2013, and Au Revoir, which won the Un Certain Regard Prize for directing in 2011, were also screened there. In 2020, he won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale with “There is no Evil”.

On Monday 11 July, the filmmaker Jafar Panahi was also arrested in Tehran. The Iranian director had screened several works at Cannes, including the films “Three Faces” in 2018 and which won the Screenplay Prize. His “Blood and Gold” won the Jury Prize at Un Certain Regard in 2003. Jafar Panahi also won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in 2015 for his film “Taxi Tehran”.

It’s worth noting the extreme high regard that cinema is held by world audiences over the years.

Iranian director Jafar Panahi

A statement from the festival stated that it supported “all those who, throughout the world, are subjected to violence and reprisals. The Festival remains and will always remain the refuge of artists from all over the world and will relentlessly put itself at their service in order to carry their voices loud and clear, in defence of freedom of creation and expression”.

In 2022, it notably screened the “Mariupolis 2” by Lihtuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius who was shot by the Russian army during the shooting. The film was finished by his co-director Hanna Bilobrova. Kvedaravičius had previoulsy shot two other documentaries about Mariupol in 2014 and 2015, as the city was already targeted by the DNR separatists after the Russian annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas. 

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