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Symbol of freedom, Iranian Rasoulof applauded in Cannes

Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has transformed the Cannes Film Festival as a sounding board for Iranian women and their resistance, fleeing the mullahs' regime at the risk of her life to come and present his film in person.

The political context of this screening in Cannes, as well as the strength of the film itself, make “Seeds of the Wild Fig Tree” one of the most serious candidates for the Palme d'Or, awarded on Saturday evening.< /p>

Filmed clandestinely, but impeccably produced, the film follows for 02 hours 45 an Iranian investigator, who has just been promoted to magistrate, and women from three different generations: his wife, their youngest daughter , a student, and the youngest, a teenager.

The popular uprising which followed the death of Mahsa Amini, arrested at the end of 2022 for not having respected the Islamic dress code, is the backdrop to the film. And will turn the lives of the protagonists upside down.

While the father is ordered by the authorities to seek the death penalty against opponents of the regime, his daughters come to the aid of one of their comrades, injured by the police during a demonstration.

Paranoia, lies and the poison of suspicion: alongside the regime which is getting tougher, the family falls into a fatal spiral.

– L 'exile or prison –

After the corruption in “A Man of Integrity” (2017) then the death penalty in “The Devil Does Not Exist”, Mohammad Rasoulof burned its last ships with this indictment against the arbitrariness and violence of the regime. He had managed to keep secret the exact subject of his film, which includes amateur images of the repression of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement.

Before his presentation, he had no other choice than exile or return to prison.

Just two weeks ago, no one would have imagined this big name in Iranian cinema who defied censorship for years, and was sentenced on appeal to eight years in prison, five of which were applicable, to walk the red carpet.< /p>

At the cost of a dangerous clandestine escape through the mountains, which took him to Europe, Rasoulof was finally able to reach Cannes, where he received a standing ovation, alongside Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, who has lived in exile in France for around fifteen years.

He was also accompanied by his daughter Baran, a symbolic passing of the baton since it was the latter who received the Golden Bear in Berlin on behalf of her father, forbidden to leave his country four years ago.

Only part of the film crew, however, was able to leave Iran.

On the red carpet Mohammad Rasoulof held up photos of two of his main actors, Missagh Zareh and Soheila Golestani, the father and mother in the film.

– Support –

By welcoming him in person, the 77th Festival sends a signal “to all artists who, in the world, suffer violence and reprisals in the expression of their art “, underlined the general delegate of the festival, Thierry Frémaux, to AFP. And, more broadly, to opponents of the regime in place in Iran, where repression continues to increase.

Amnesty International affirms that Iran, shaken by a protest movement at the end of 2022 after the death of young Mahsa Amini, executed 853 people in 2023, the highest number highest since 2015.

Filmmakers are regularly accused of propaganda against the regime, in a country where conservatives concentrate all power. A situation unlikely to change after the recent death of President Ebrahim Raïssi in a helicopter crash.

Symbol of freedom, Iranian Rasoulof applauded in Cannes

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, center, holds up photos of Iranian actor Missagh Zareh, left, and Iranian actress Soheila Golestani, right, on May 24, 2024, at the Cannes Film Festival, in the Alpes-Maritimes © AFP – Sameer Al-Doumy

International festivals and the sounding board they offer are an important form of recognition for Iranian filmmakers struggling with the regime, like Jafar Panahi (“Taxi Tehran”) or Saeed Roustaee (“Leila and her brothers”), regularly selected, despite the repression they suffer.

In addition to “The seeds of the wild fig tree”, the jury chaired by American Greta Gerwig also watches on Friday the last of the 22 opuses in the competition, “The Most Precious of Goods”, by Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), an animated film evoking the Shoah.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116