Jailed Iranian director wins Jury prize at Venice Film Festival

AFP

2 min read
French-Iranian actress Mina Kavani and Iranian actor Reza Heydari pose with the Special Jury Prize at the 79th Venice Film Festival, received on behalf of imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, for the film 'No Bears'  on September 10, 2022.
Andreas SOLARO / AFPFrench-Iranian actress Mina Kavani and Iranian actor Reza Heydari pose with the Special Jury Prize at the 79th Venice Film Festival, received on behalf of imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, for the film 'No Bears' on September 10, 2022.

Jafar Panahi was arrested in July for 'propaganda against the regime'

Jailed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was awarded a special Jury prize at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday for his film-within-a-film in which he plays the protagonist, "No Bears."  

In his absence, the filmmaker was honored with a long standing ovation by the public in Venice, Italy, after the announcement of his award.

A major figure in Iranian cinema prevented by his imprisonment from coming to present his latest film, Panahi, 62, created a powerful autofiction depicting the life of an oppressed Iranian director.

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Panahi sent a letter to the festival last week, co-signed with his colleague Mohammad Rasoulof, also detained, in which they accuse Tehran of treating independent filmmakers "as criminals."

"The history of Iranian cinema testifies to the constant and active presence of independent directors who have fought against censorship and to guarantee the survival of this art. Among these, some are banned from making films, others have been forced into exile or reduced to solitary confinement," they denounced in their statement.

Panahi, who won the top prize Golden Lion in Venice in 2000, was arrested in July for "propaganda against the regime" along with two other prominent filmmakers during the latest crackdown on Iranian civil society. He has covertly made five movies since being banned from filmmaking by the Iranian authorities in 2010. 

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