Iranian Director Farhadi Wows Cannes With The Past
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's latest film, PassÃ© (The Past), his first film shot outside his native country, received a warm reception from the audience at the Cannes Film Festival today (Friday), where it is competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or award. His previous film, A Separation, about a couple preparing for divorce, won the best foreign language film Oscar in 2012 and the Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear, but it was condemned over Iran's state-run television network by writer Masoud Ferasati who said: The image of our society that A Separation depicts is the dirty picture westerners are wishing for. A planned ceremony to honor Farhadi following his Oscar win was abruptly canceled by authorities. His current film also deals with a couple whose marriage has failed, but it is a marriage between an Iranian man, played by Tahar Rahim, who has returned to France after a four-year absence, and his French wife, played by BÃ©rÃ©nice Bejo (The Artist). At a news conference in Cannes following the screening of PassÃ©, Farhadi carefully chose his words when he was asked about Iran's restrictions on filmmakers. There are two types of censorship: official censorship and self-censorship, which is much more dangerous, he said. When I leave my country, the restrictions no longer weigh me down, but I am still subject to a conditioning that's beyond my control. I try to see that as an advantage rather than a hindrance and to respond in a creative way. Only two days ago, Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance granted permission for PassÃ© to be shown in Tehran.