Friday, December 24, 2010

Speak Out for Panahi and Rasoulof

For each year's celebration of Christmas, the world prepares a reminder that peace and goodwill are guiding stars, not destinations where we can stop and rest. This year's reminder comes in the form of the ghastly regime in Iran, where filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Muhammad Rasoulof have been sentenced to six years in prison and banned from filmmaking for 20 years. There is no point to naming the government's charges against them. Panahi and Rasoulof have been imprisoned for being artists. They join thousands of other Iranians who have struggled for freedom in that country.

The Daily Notebook at MUBI has been tracking both the news of the filmmakers' struggle, as well as the outrage from people of conscience worldwide. As awards season starts, giving those who make movies the means to speak to millions in their own voices, we hope as many of them as possible seize the chance to support one of their own.

Meanwhile, those of us who watch and love film, and who care about freedom, seek to contribute as best we can. I urge you to add your signatures to the online petition here.

As always, I wish my patient, and most beloved, readers the happiest of holiday seasons.

11 comments:

DavidEhrenstein said...

As long as Iran is run by religious fanatics and political despots there's is no hope for Panahi and Rasoulof -- or anyone else for that matter.

Be that as it may, Have Yourself A Funky Little Xmas

The Siren said...

David, Christmas is one time of year when the Siren permits herself the luxury of hope.

Arthur S. said...

The Panahi conviction as well as the terms in which he is condemned, such as being forbidden from giving any interviews at all for 20 years, leaves one boiling in fury.

Totalitarian regimes always have it in for film-makers. It wasn't a long time ago when Tian Zhuangzhuang was banned by the Chinese government from making films for ten years after he made THE BLUE KITE. And then before that you had Sergei Parajanov, a major influence on Iranian film-makers.

The Siren said...

Amen, Arthur.

And The Blue Kite is a beautiful movie, one that shattered me when I saw it years ago.

Arthur S. said...

He's returned to active film-making after the ban. His remake of a Chinese classic, SPRINGTIME OF A SMALL TOWN is a masterpiece. Presumably if Mr. Panahi survives prison(his wife expressed fears about his heart condition), he too will rebuke his oppressors by proving that his talent can never be taken away from him.

joe said...

Thanks, Siren-- I've posted the link to the petition to my Facebook page and emailed it to friends. Happy holidays to you and yours.

The Siren said...

Arthur, I hope so too.

Thank you Joe, and happy holidays to you and yours as well.

Ehsan Khoshbakht said...

Thanks Siren, and I wish you a merry Christmas!

Peace

Trish said...

Dare I say it -- Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. With best wishes for a healthy, happy new year. And with thoughts for Mr. Panahi and his family.

gmoke said...

Cruelty like this is a sign of weakness. May Panahi and Rasoulof have the grace and strength to survive the stupidity of such frightened people.

Trish said...

"Peace on earth, good will toward men" was never more appropriate...