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Jafar Panahi was banned from directing or editing … and s

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:29 am    Post subject: Jafar Panahi was banned from directing or editing … and s Reply with quote

div class="track"img alt="" src="http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.22.4/38555?ns=guardianpageName=Jafar+Panahi+was+banned+from+directing+or+editing+*+and+still+got+a+movi%3AArticle%3A1720882ch=Filmc3=Guardianc4=Jafar+Panahi%2CFilm%2CCulturec5=Not+commercially+usefulc6=John+Pattersonc7=12-Mar-24c8=1720882c9=Articlec10=Featurec11=Filmc13=c25=c30=contentc42=Cultureh2=GU%2FCulture%2FFilm%2FJafar+Panahi" width="1" height="1" //divp class="standfirst"This Is Not A Film was smuggled out of Iran inside a birthday cake. Long may film-makers continue to take risks for art/ppa href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/jafar-panahi" title=""Jafar Panahi/a's This Is Not A Filmstrong /strongdemonstrates by the simple fact of its existence that the political oppression of difficult artists – a tradition as ancient and venerable as art itself – is alive and well in modern Iran. No surprises there, perhaps, but more encouragingly it also shows that Iranian responses to being silenced are as inventive as any ever developed by film-makers in repressive regimes. Given the formal and stylistic adventurousness of many movies made under arduous political circumstances, you might even argue that a bracing dose of aggressive censorship and brutal repression can sometimes do wonders for a director's formal and intellectual development./ppPanahi had no need of such spurs to creativity; he was Abbas Kiarostami's assistant while Kiarostami was making films set in areas of private life – the mind, the family, the street, the car – less vigorously policed by the Department of Vice and Virtue. Panahi's own movies were more vocally political and his activism more visible and, to cut a long story short, he ended up confined to his house, banned for 20 years from filming, directing, editing or giving interviews, and facing six years in jail. Tell a film-maker he can't make films, however, and you end up with the Quills syndrome, whereby the pen-less Marquis de Sade uses his own shit for ink. Panahi is more polite than that, and with digicam and iPhone he tries to make a movie that adheres strictly, albeit facetiously, to the terms of his sentence, driven finally to cry in frustration: "If we could tell a film, then why ever make a film?" His movie – with its wryly Magrittean title – attempts to find an answer. In a final comic-heroic gesture, the movie was smuggled from Iran to Cannes in a data stick hidden inside a birthday cake./ppIt's always gratifying when smuggling has to happen, like when Hungarian cinematography students a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/nov/12/vilmos-zsigmond-documentary" title=""Vilmos Zsigmond/a and László Kovács smuggled their own perilously shot footage of the Soviet invasion of Hungary past bullets and border-guards into Austria – and then went back to fetch their girlfriends. Or when a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2001/oct/19/artsfeatures2" title=""Patricio Guzmán/a's documentary team smuggled the epic The Battle Of Chile out of their native country at unimaginable risk to life and limb (their cinematographer Leonardo Henrichsen actually filmed his own murder by Pinochet's troops – it's in the movie). Thirty years ago, the upstart Turkish screen idol and dissident director Yilmaz Güney – who had directed several movies by proxy from behind bars during 10 years' incarceration – actually broke out of jail and turned up at Cannes, with Interpol in hot pursuit, to premiere his 1982 masterpiece Yol./ppAt times like these one remembers that cinema needn't always be the safe, neutered, bourgeois, go-along-to-get-along kind of art it usually is. If the state is afraid of a film-maker, then that film-maker is definitely doing something right./pdiv class="related" style="float: left; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"ullia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/jafar-panahi"Jafar Panahi/a/li/ul/divdiv class="author"a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/johnpatterson"John Patterson/a/divbr/div class="terms"a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk"guardian.co.uk/a copy; 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our a href="http://users.guardian.co.uk/help/article/0,,933909,00.html"Terms Conditions/a | a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/feeds"More Feeds/a/divp style="clear:both" /

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