Our film industry, and our film journalism industry, can be pretty cynical and exhausted. The idea of failure or career reversal is gossiped about or giggled at with embarrassment or schadenfreude. Did you hear? X’s movie has bombed! His opening weekend numbers were soft! Oh dear. He may have to go into TV. I’ve heard fully paid-up critics – otherwise as innocent as children about the finances of cinema – snort knowingly outside screening rooms that such-and-such a film “won’t do any business”, as if this makes it a bad film.
But just in case we needed a reminder that film-making actually means something, and that something is at stake in being a film-maker, comes some astonishing news from Iran. The director Jafar Panahi has been sentenced to six years in prison and banned from film-making for 20 years due to what appear to be still cloudily formulated offences: chiefly the notion he was inciting protest and discontent with a documentary he was working on. Panahi is a well-known supporter of the Green mo… >>>