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Thread: The Imprisonment and the Silencing of Jafar Panahi

  1. #1
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    The Imprisonment and the Silencing of Jafar Panahi

    The great Iranian director Jafar Panahi was sentenced yesterday to 6 years in prison and banned from filmmaking for 20 years. He is also forbidden from having any contact with journalists and film critics. Panahi and his films (The Circle, Crimson Gold, Offside,etc.) have been the subject of all kinds of repression by the Iranian regime. None of his films after The White Balloon (1995) have been allowed to show in theaters in Iran. They are very popular because of pirated video versions sold in the black market with Panahi's blessing. Since his latest arrest, on March 1st, 2010, the world's film community has consistently protested the treatment of Panahi and offered support. As someone who has been edified, inspired, and emotionally rattled by his films, I want to use this forum to briefly express a feeling of outrage and sorrow at the jailing and silencing of this artist and any other suffering a similar fate.

  2. #2
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    Hi, Oscar. I was concerned about your disappearance!

    I've only seen three of Panahi's films, The Circle, Crimson Gold, and Offside. But he is a talented and original director and his work is serous and though provoking. I really liked Offiside, which I saw in the 2006 NYFF. It touches on so many themes, and seems almost unscripited. There are a lot of terrible things going on in today's Iran and many unjust imprisonments. This is just the tip of the iceberg that outsiders are aware of because of the outcry at Cannes and the other publicity. The oppression touches all Iranian filmmakers. But Panahi's imprisonment is the injustice that we know about.

  3. #3
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    My friend Jon Rosenbaum has this news on his main page on Facebook.
    Something's gotta be done here.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  4. #4
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    As promised months ago, I continue to post weekly and read just about every post. Since the end of Spring, I have written very little about contemporary cinema although I continue to watch a considerable number of new films. This is likely to continue as I prepare to teach a course, in the Fall, in film history from the beginnings of the medium until 1940. I am also preparing a "guest lecture" on Avant Garde or experimental cinema (Bunuel, Deren, Duchamp, Anger, Brakhage, Warhol, etc.) and a conference paper on Martel and Auteurism. I hope to find time to write at least a couple of essays about my favorite films of this year and post them here, and I will post a 2010 list just in case anyone is curious.

    I'm glad you guys responded to this thread. Time critic Richard Corliss doesn't think that the Iranian government will budge despite the strong international protest. Maybe he's right. This injustice is indeed the most visible out of many perpetrated by this very repressive government. Bahman Ghobadi managed to leave Iran in time to avoid prosecution for his No One Knows About Persian Cats (pure guerrilla filmmaking). But everyone is affected.

  5. #5
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    I'm glad to hear about all you're doing and look forward to your writing and your Best of 2010 lists, and look forward to your comments on mine. Also appreciate your reading all the posts.

    Nader T. Homayoun's TAHROUN is an Iranian film that was made clandestinely. I reviewed it as part of this year's ND/NF at Lincoln Center. His Facebook page indicates that he now lives in France. It seems like the regime is bent on making an example of Panahi.

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