Last week a number of America’s highest-profile filmmakers—Spielberg, Scorsese, and Coppola among them—petitioned for the release of Jafar Panahi, an acclaimed Iranian film director who has been imprisoned in Tehran since March. “Upon his arrest, Islamic Republic officials initially charged Mr. Panahi with ‘unspecified crimes.’ They have since reversed themselves, and the charges are now specifically related to his work as a filmmaker,” reads the letter, timed to coincide with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the U.N.
Of course, renting Panahi’s work isn’t going to have any effect on the director’s confinement, or prevent similar arrests from occurring in the future. But Panahi’s bluntly critical films—three of which, The Mirror (1997), Offside (2006), and Crimson Gold (2003), are currently available on Region 1 DVD—are not easily forgotten. It might be hard now to avoid spotting queasy real-life parallels in the films—in Crimson Gold, there are numerous chilling instances of people being carted off by police, shouting all the while that they didn’t do anything—and watching them may not exactly help sustain the awareness raised … >>>
Subscribe to The Iranian newsletter
Sign up for our daily newsletter to get the top news stories delivered to your inbox.