Huge announcement from the Cannes Film Festival today: "Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, currently subject to legal proceedings in Iran which earned them a sentence of six years in prison and a 20-year employment ban, to which they have appealed, will be in Cannes with two films made in semi-clandestine conditions and which reached the festival in recent days." From the Festival:
Bé Omid é Didar (Good Bye) directed by Mohammad Rasoulof (Iran, 2011, 100') is in the Official Selection, Un Certain Regard and will be screened on Saturday May 14th. A feature film, with Leyla Zareh, Fereshteh Sadreorafai, Shahab Hosseini and Roya Teymorian, Good Bye is the story of a young lawyer in Tehran in search of a visa to leave the country, which is what Mohammad Rasoulof did during the winter of 2010/2011.
In Film Nist (This is not a Film) directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmas (Iran, 2011, 75') is a Special Screening in the Official Selection, and will be screened on Friday May 20th. This film tells how, for months, Jafar Panahi waited for the verdict of his court appeal. Through the depiction of a day in his life, Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (a documentary filmmaker and former assistant director), we offer an overview of the current situation of Iranian cinema.
The Festival also quotes from a letter it received from Panahi on Thursday: "The reality of being alive and the dream of keeping cinema alive motivated us to go through the existing limitations in Iranian cinema…. Our problems are also all of our assets. Understanding this promising paradox helped us not to lose hope, and to be able to go on since we believe wherever in the world that we live, we are going to face problems, big or small. But it is our duty not to be defeated and to find solutions."
And a statement from Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux follows: "Mohammad Rasoulof's film and the conditions under which it was made, Jafar Panahi's 'diary' of the days of his life as an artist not allowed to work, are by their very existence a resistance to the legal action which affects them. That they send them to Cannes, at the same time, the same year, when they face the same fate, is an act of courage along with an incredible artistic message. Cannes is the international institution which protects them. Film professionals from world over will gather on the Croisette and unite, we are sure, in a sort of self-evident fellowship."