Iranian authorities have forced the cancellation of a ceremony to honor Asghar Farhadi, who won the Oscar for the best foreign language film, A Separation, last month. The victory over a slate of rivals that included one film from Israel had initially been hailed by Iranian officials as a triumph of Iranian cinema. But on Monday the High Council of Producers of Iranian Cinema and the Center for Directors of Iranian Cinema, who were to host the ceremony, received word that their request for a permit had been denied. No reason was given. But a backlash to the film had been mounting. On a recent television show, film critic Masoud Ferasati called Farhadi a "cheeky director" and said that A Separation depicts "the dirty picture of the Iranian People that westerners are wishing for." Farhadi himself, meanwhile, has no immediate plans to return to his country. Screen Daily reported that he will make his next movie in France, a love story between an Iranian woman and a North African man. However, he told the Iranian news agency IRNA, "I love my country and I will not change it for anywhere in the world."
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.