State versus Filmmakers - Iran

By: Journeyman PicturesPublished: 11 years ago

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August 2002
This fascinating piece profiles Iran's dissident filmmakers whose work proves that "censorship is the mother of all metaphors". Cinema here uses symbols to explore the darker side of society. "The Circle" tackles forbidden subjects like prostitution in defiance of Iran's hardline clerics. The film has sold to 37 countries, but has never been seen in Iran. Its director Jafar Panahi refuses to make the cuts demanded by the censors. The clerics have threatened to burn the film if they ever see a copy. Panahi says "They are afraid that if awareness increases or a new idea is expressed, they may lose their power". Tahmineh Milani has run into far more trouble with the authorities. She could face the death sentence for crimes she's accused of due to her film "The Hidden Half". It's a love story set in the brutal period following the Revolution. Her husband says the charges are a fabrication to silence filmmakers. Bahman Farmanara says cinema in Hollywood, where there is "censorship by financing" can be just as restrictive. And Iranian filmmakers have the power to shape society.

Produced by SBS/Dateline
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

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