Venice film festival urges Iranian directors' release

Published: 05:27 PM, 12 Jul, 2022
Venice film festival urges Iranian directors' release
Caption: Mohammad Rasoulof and Jafar Panahi
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The Venice film festival called Tuesday for the "immediate release" of award-winning dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and fellow directors Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad.

The world's oldest film festival said it was "deeply dismayed" by the reported arrests of Panahi on Monday, and Rasoulof and Aleahmad on Friday.

"La Biennale di Venezia joins its own voice to the many that are now speaking out in the world to condemn the repressive actions underway," it said.

It said it also "demands the immediate liberation of the directors arrested for defending the right to freedom of expression and creation".

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was in Rome on Monday to meet his counterpart Luigi Di Maio. The Italian foreign ministry made no mention of the arrests in a statement issued after their talks.

Panahi, 62, has won a slew of awards at international festivals for films that have critiqued modern Iran, including the top prize in Berlin for "Taxi" in 2015, and best screenplay at Cannes for his film "Three Faces" in 2018.

He was also arrested in 2010, following his support for anti-government protests. He was later convicted of "propaganda against the system", sentenced to six years in jail and handed a ban on directing or writing films, or leaving the country to pick up any of his awards.

Rasoulof, 50, won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2020 with his film "There Is No Evil" but was likewise unable to accept the award in person as he was barred from leaving Iran.

Categories : Entertainment

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