Cannes rejoices after Iran film-maker 'cleared' to travel

17th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Cannes festival rejoiced Tuesday over reports that convicted Iranian film-maker Mohammad Rasoulof had been cleared by authorities to come to France, but said it was awaiting confirmation.

"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.

A court in December sentenced Rasoulof, along with fellow prominent director 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.

"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.

Rasoulof's lawyer Iman Mirza-Zadeh said earlier that he received official confirmation the ban on him leaving Iran had been lifted.

Rasoulof's "Be Omid e Didar" (Goodbye) is the story of a young Tehran lawyer trying to get a visa to leave Iran and was shown on May 14 in the parallel "Un Certain Regard" section of the festival.

A spokesman for Rasoulof in Cannes said the director, whose film is to be repeated at the end of the week, was expected to be at the festival later on Tuesday.

Cannes organisers have said the film 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 being political for screening movies by Iranians who back the Islamic republic's opposition movement, including Panahi, on whose travel ban Mirza-Zadeh had no news.

The Islamic regime has convicted Panahi of "propaganda against the system" for making a film about unrest after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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