Great interview from Cannes with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami about his latest film, Certified Copy, starring, among others, Juliette Binoche.
I loved this part:
My next film is going to be a road movie too. In my film Ten on 10 I explain why I have these driving scenes. I feel good in a car. And the car is one of the locations where you feel the least the presence of a camera. Spielberg’s Duel is one of the most memorable films for me â it may remind of Hitchcock but I like it even more than Hitchcockâs films. If you locked me in a car with a camera, and maybe an actor too, I wouldnât protest. I would promise not to come out of the car. So who knows â if I go back to Iran and get into trouble thatâs what I can suggest to them: Donât put me in a cell, put me in a car.
Kiarostami is still based in Iran, although he knows his films never stand a chance on passing the censors there. He has been a huge vocal supporter of Jafar Panahi, calling for Iran to release him.
Update on that front: Panahi is still on hunger strike, but apparently he was allowed to see his wife on Thursday, and there is going to be a bail hearing today. Things are actually looking up. I cannot imagine that the international attention his imprisonment has received is not a factor. Still a frightening situation, but there are glimmers of hope right now for Mr. Panahi – at least getting released on bail. More information here.
Another update: Not too much new information here, except for the opening paragraphs:
Tehran’s prosecutor general has asked the Islamic revolutionary court to reconsider the continued detention of the celebrated Iranian film-maker, Jafar Panahi, raising hopes that he may quickly be freed.
A high-profile international campaign calling for Panahi’s release has drawn the support of leading figures in the arts and politics. According to some reports a bail hearing could take place as early as this weekend and could free Panahi until his trial.
We’re all watching.
And thank you, Bruce, for reminding me of another imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad, who was imprisoned last December, and was sentenced in April to over 3 years of prison and 50 lashes, for writing critical letters to the new government. Because the new government is so unbelievably sensitive that they can’t bear critiques. Oh boo-hoo mullahs. Nourizad was beaten so badly that his eyes were injured, perhaps permanently. He is also on hunger strike, with others, including Panahi.
Panahi is the symbol. The international star.
The one whose chair was left empty for him at Cannes.
But there are others. Many many others. Let us hold out hope for them as well.