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Published on July 31st, 2012 | by Bags Hooper


Film & Politics Collide: Iran to Protest Sanctions with Venice Film Festival Boycott

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In America, you typically hear news filtered through the lens that says government and religion should stand separate. But, how about government and film?

In response to recent oil sanctions against Iran by the European Union, Iran has threatened to pull out of the Venice Film Festival.

The festival currently has one film from Iran slated to screen – Kianoosh Ayari’s The Paternal House.

However, the Culture Ministry’s Supervision and Evaluation Office Director Alireza Sajjadpur stated, “We naturally are thinking over a plan to boycott the festival this year.”

The Paternal House is not in official competition and is only in the out-of-competition Horizon section of the Italy’s festival.

The Tehran Times published a report from the official stating: “Considering that the EU has imposed the strongest inhumane and illegal sanctions against Iran, we are naturally thinking of boycotting the Venice film festival.”

Could the film still screen?

This would not be the first time in recent years that an Iranian film had to make it’s way to the public by clandestine efforts. Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not A Film was smuggled into Cannes in 2011, while the director was under house arrest. He used a flash drive hidden inside a cake (perhaps inspired by Ma Beagle from Ducktales). Now that Iran is wise to the “old flash drive inside a cake” routine, Ayari will have to come up with a more creative way to get a screening copy of the film to the festival.

Ayari’s film focuses on the struggles of Iranian women living under a patriarchal society. Irregardless of the proposed boycott, Sajjadpur said that the film would need to go through a series of “corrections” since the film’s topics are against the current Iranian regime.

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