Jafar Panahi

Iran jails film director for propaganda against the regime

4th March


Noted Iranian film maker arrested over support for opposition

Artists from around the world have called for the release of the Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi, who was arrested in a raid on his home in Tehran. The award-winning director, a vocal supporter of the Opposition, was seized on Monday night along with his wife and daughter and 15 house guests.

It is a very shocking development and further demonstration of the intolerance of the regime, said Ken Loach, the British director. I hope all people working in films will call for his release, and speak out in solidarity for him and all Iranian film-makers working under similar conditions. It is completely unacceptable.

Panahi had supported Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader, in last year's disputed parliamentary elections. He was previously arrested in July at a ceremony commemorating Neda Soltan, the anti-Government protester who was killed by security forces Last month, Panahi was denied permission to leave Iran to attend the Berlin Film Festival.

Panahi's work has received critical acclaim for its unflinching portrayal of social tensions in contemporary Iran. In 2000, he won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival for The Circle, which depicted women struggling with the country's inherent sexism. His most recent feature, Offside , depicted a group of women defying a ban on them attending football matches, and attempting to enter the national stadium disguised as men to watch a crucial World Cup qualifier. The film won the 2006 Silver Bear award in Berlin.

Despite his international success, the critical stance in most of Panahi's work has led to conflict with government censors. Most of his films are banned from being shown in Iranian cinemas.

Update: Hunger Strike

22nd May 2010. See  article from  news.bbc.co.uk

The internationally acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi has begun a hunger strike to protest at his imprisonment in Iran, opposition websites say.

The writer and director was arrested in March along with members of his family.

Panahi's family were released shortly after their arrest, but he was taken to Evin prison in Tehran.

His wife, Tahereh Saeidi, told the opposition Rahesabz website the director had informed her by phone that he had stopped eating and drinking until he was allowed to see his family and a lawyer.


31st May

Dressed to Censor...

Juliette Binoche taunts Iran during the Cannes festival and gets her film banned in Iran

A rumbling row over censorship between the Cannes film festival and Iran flared anew as Tehran banned celebrated director Abbas Kiarostami's new movie due to star Juliet Binoche's attire .

The actress award last weekend for her role in Certified Copy, a tortuous tete-a-tete about love and marriage in which she remains determinedly fully clothed throughout.

If Juliette Binoche were better clad it could have been screened but due to her attire there will not be a general screening, Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamaqdari was quoted as saying by local newspapers.

Binoche and Kiarostami heaped criticism however against Tehran throughout the festival, for the way it treats its film-makers and for its tough censorship stance.

On picking up the best actress prize, the French star brandished a sign with the name of Jafar Panahi, the Iranian film-maker jailed in Tehran in March for planning a film against the Islamic regime.

After years of friction between the Cannes film festival and Tehran, organisers may have added insult to injury this year by inviting jailed Panahi to join the festival jury that decides on the winners of its awards. At the festival's gala opening, the jury headed by Alice in Wonderland director Tim Burton called for his release and left a seat symbolically empty for him on stage.


25th December

Petition: Offside and Inside...

Noted Iranian film director jailed for 6 years

The acclaimed Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi has been sentenced to six years in prison, and banned from directing and producing films for the next 20 years, his lawyer said.

Panahi, an outspoken supporter of Iran's opposition green movement, was convicted of colluding in gathering and making propaganda against the regime, Farideh Gheyrat told the Iranian state news agency, ISNA.

He is also  banned from travelling abroad and also giving any interviews to the media including foreign and domestic news organisations.

Panahi won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes film festival in 1995 for his debut feature, The White Balloon , and the Golden Lion at Venice for his 2000 drama, The Circle . His other films include Crimson Gold and Offside . He is highly regarded around the world but his films are banned at home.

Sign the Free Jafar Panahi petition from petitiononline.com :

To: The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran

We call on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the immediate release of internationally respected Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Pahani, (winner of the Camera d' Or at Cannes, the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival) and his family and dependents.


27th October

Updated: This is Not a Film...

Iran upholds 6 year jail sentence for noted film director Jafar Panahi
An Iranian appeal court in Tehran has upheld film director Jafar Panahi's sentence to six years in jail, and a twenty-year ban on filmmaking.

Charges against the award-winning director were summarised by state media as: acting against national security and propaganda against the regime .

With the ban now in-place, the filmmaker's This is not a Film , which premiered at Canne Film festival, may be his last work for two decades. The handheld-shot documentary covers Panahi's struggle with censorship whilst being prosecuted.

Update: London Film Festival

27th October 2011. See  article from  littlewhitelies.co.uk

This is Not a Film is thoughtful, inviting and not at all preachy or didactic. It is truly a video postcard, though a potentially contentious one having been smuggled to the 2011 London Film Festival via a memory stick. Still, it stands up a testimony to the defiance against censorship and towards this man's desire to tell stories, in whatever format he is able to.

Offsite: Update

28th March 2012.  See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Jafar Panahi's This Is Not A Film demonstrates by the simple fact of its existence that the political oppression of difficult artists -- a tradition as ancient and venerable as art itself -- is alive and well in modern Iran. No surprises there, perhaps, but more encouragingly it also shows that Iranian responses to being silenced are as inventive as any ever developed by film-makers in repressive regimes. Given the formal and stylistic adventurousness of many movies made under arduous political circumstances, you might even argue that a bracing dose of aggressive censorship and brutal repression can sometimes do wonders for a director's formal and intellectual development.

...Read the full article

This is Not a Film is now available for pre-order . It will be released in the UK by Palisades Tartan on 27th August 2012.



Offsite Article: Closed Curtain...

Link Here 13th February 2013
Full story: Jafar Panahi...Iran jails film director for propaganda against the regime
Banned Iranian director's film depicts crushing state oppression at Berlin festival

See article from rawstory.com



Update: This is Not a Film...

UK DVD release from Iranian director who has been banned from making movies

Link Here 16th March 2013
Full story: Jafar Panahi...Iran jails film director for propaganda against the regime

This Is Not a Film is a 2011 Iran documentary by Jafar Panahi.
With Jafar Panahi. IMDb

UK:  Passed U uncut for no material likely to offend or harm for:

  • UK 2013 Tartan Palisades R2 at UK Amazon released on 11th March 2013

There is also a US release


Summary Review: Banned

A day in the life of a banned Iranian film director. Smuggled out of the country and endangering all those who helped out in the production.

This clandestine documentary, shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, depicts the day-to-day life of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (OFFSIDE, THE CIRCLE) during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment. While appealing his sentence six years in prison and a 20 year ban from filmmaking Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking.

See A 'non-film' about not being allowed to make a film from dnaindia.com



Update: Closed Curtain...

Banned Iranian director to release latest film online for viewers in Iran

Link Here 17th July 2014
Full story: Jafar Panahi...Iran jails film director for propaganda against the regime
Jafar Panahi's Closed Curtain will be released digitally online and will be free for viewers in Iran using VHX, the direct-to-consumer platform, beginning Monday, July 14th.

One of Iran's most celebrated filmmakers, Panahi has been under house arrest since 2011, and the Iranian government has banned him from making any films for 20 years. Closed Curtain marks Panahi's second time defying the ban placed upon him by the government. The first was his 2011 documentary This is Not a Film.

Closed Curtain won the Silver Bear for Best Script at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and recently opened at the Film Forum in New York City. It will screen across the U.S. and Canada throughout the rest of the summer.

VHX has led the charge on a social media campaign to support Panahi. Using the hashtag #Celebratenotcensor, VHX is asking people to tweet using that hashtag and to:

Show your support as well by sharing a personal message of support for Jafar and for other artists around the world who are being denied the freedom of expression.


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