- Title: Defying political pressure, Iranian director keeps camera running
- Date: 25th May 2017
- Summary: CANNES, FRANCE (MAY 23, 2017) (REUTERS) DIRECTOR MOHAMMAD RASOULOF BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) DIRECTOR, MOHAMMAD RASOULOF, SAYING: "When this confrontation happened between me and the security services, I was thinking, I had always tried not to let this happen but now it is happening and I want to make my movies, I want to be faithful to myself." RASOULOF (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) DIRECTOR, MOHAMMAD RASOULOF, SAYING: "International support has really helped all filmmakers and especially me, by stopping the pressure they were putting on us and, it helped me go on and make movies rather than be isolated and stop working. And also, what happened with me I try not to be isolated and passive, I try to be more active, more creative." RASOULOF'S HAND (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) DIRECTOR, MOHAMMAD RASOULOF, SAYING: "I think the worst thing that can happen is that you believe that you can't do anything. I really want to try make movies and I prefer to work in Iran and make a difficult movie than come out and make an easy one."
- Embargoed: 8th June 2017 13:21
- Keywords: film festival Cannes cinema Mohammad Rasoulof A Man of Integrity Lerd
- Location: CANNES, FRANCE / VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- City: CANNES, FRANCE / VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- Country: France
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Film,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0026IC7B65
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: When Iranian authorities sentenced Mohammad Rasoulof to jail, they may have hoped the filmmaker would stop work, or at least soften the political messages in movies that lay bare the legal and political injustices in the Islamic Republic.
They could not have been more wrong.
Before his arrest alongside acclaimed director Jafar Panahi, in 2010, Rasoulof was making films that showed the problems of Iranian society through allegories rather than straightforward story-telling.
In his first major film, 2005's "Iron Island", families live and work for a benign dictator on a rusting beached cargo ship. In his second, 2009's "The White Meadows", a man collects the tears of people living on islands made of salt.
So his response to the arrest was to make his 2013 film "Manuscripts Don't Burn", dropping all metaphor and symbolism to show in gritty detail the story of two goons hired to torture and murder political dissidents.
That was filmed in secret, with a six-person crew and without any authorisation and, like all his other movies, has never been released in Iranian movie theatres.
For "A Man of Integrity", his latest film that is competing in the "Un Certain Regard" section at Cannes this year, Rasoulof did get permission to shoot, but only after signing a paper promising it would not be completely "dark".
With huge acclaim for Iranians such as Panahi and Asghar Farhadi, who won his second Oscar this year, has also come support for directors making movies in Iran, risking censorship, arrest and jail.
With his one-year jail sentence suspended after paying bail, Rasoulof is still at risk of judicial interference in his work, but he is surprisingly optimistic, saying he hopes some day to get his films shown in Iran.
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