Iranian film-maker, producer face prison for showing film at Cannes without permission
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – An Iranian film-maker and his producer reportedly face prison time and being barred from film-making after they showcased a movie at the Cannes Film Festival without Government approval, drawing immediate criticism internationally from leading American director Martin Scorsese and others.
Director Saeed Roustayi and producer Javad Norouzbeigi travelled to Cannes last year to show Leila’s Brothers, competing for the festival’s grand Palme d’Or prize.
The film focuses on a family struggling to make ends meet as Iran faces international sanctions and includes sequences showing protests in the Islamic republic as a series of nationwide demonstrations shook the nation.
The film also depicts security forces beating demonstrators protesting Iran’s ailing economy, which has already sparked mass protests and bloody security force crackdowns killing hundreds. The family in it loses all its savings over the rapid depreciation of Iran’s rial currency, something Iranians across the country have lived with for years.
Additionally, the aging patriarch, hoarding his family’s wealth and forcing them into squalor for a chance at personal glory, can be seen as an allegory to Iran’s theocracy.
Leila’s Brothers didn’t take the coveted Palme d’Or but ended up winning two other awards at Cannes.
However, authorities in Tehran did not nominate the film for the Oscars despite its success at the renowned French film festival, something Roustayi later criticised in published remarks.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.