Golden Bear winner wishes film could be shown in Iran

15th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Iran's Jafar Panahi who won the Berlin film festival for his movie "Taxi" said Sunday he wished cinemagoers at home could see his films rather than his works having to be smuggled abroad.

"I'm really happy for me and for Iranian cinema" but "no prize is worth as much as my compatriots being able to see my films", the dissident director said in a rare interview with Iranian media.

"For years now the artistic scene has been politicised, especially cinema," Panahi told the semi-official Ilna news agency.

The laureate of Berlin's Golden Globe charged that officials of the Cinema Organisation, a branch of the interior ministry which supervises the industry in the Islamic republic, were "surrounding cinema with high walls".

"The people in power accuse us of making films for foreign festivals," he said on behalf of Iranian directors. "They hide behind political walls and don't say that our films are never authorised for screening in Iranian cinemas".

"Taxi" is Panahi's third picture smuggled out of the country in defiance of an official 20-year filmmaking ban, imposed for a documentary he tried to make on the unrest following Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election.

The 54-year-old Panahi is also barred from travelling abroad. His niece Hana Saeidi, who appears in "Taxi" along with the director, wept as she picked up the statuette for him at the awards ceremony late Saturday.

In "Taxi", Panahi himself offers his impressions of contemporary Tehran from behind the wheel of a yellow cab. A mounted dashboard camera allowed him to film.

Panahi's last movie also shot in secret, 2013's elegiac "Closed Curtain", won a Silver Bear in Berlin for best screenplay, drawing protests from the Iranian government.


© 2015 AFP

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