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L’Été Dernier: Iranian Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof Restricted from Joining Cannes Film Festival Jury
Mohammad Rasoulof's Incarceration Prevents His Participation at Cannes Mohammad Rasoulof, the acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, will be unable to join the Cannes Film Festival as a member of the Un Certain Regard jury. He is currently prohibited from leaving Iran. Rasoulof's absence on the Croisette was confirmed by RFI, reporting that the Iranian director has been forbidden from traveling outside the country. He had been invited to serve on the Un Certain Regard jury at Cannes. Despite being released for two weeks in January due to health reasons, Rasoulof has been imprisoned since July 2022. As reported by Le Film Français, Mohammad Rasoulof's lawyer, Maryam Kianersi, stated, "My client's incarceration was temporarily suspended for two weeks for health reasons, and he was released on Saturday." She further added that he has since left the hospital and is recovering at home, without disclosing the cause of his hospitalization. Kianersi clarified, "These days of leave are not counted as part of his prison sentence, so he will have to return to prison for an additional two weeks." Mohammad Rasoulof was imprisoned on charges of "destabilizing activism," as noted by the French newspaper Libération. However, they also mentioned that the true reason behind his incarceration appears to be his involvement as a signatory to a petition in May, calling for the police to cease using force against protesters demonstrating against corruption and regulatory negligence that led to the collapse of a tower in Abadan, southwestern Iran. The filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020 for his film, which faced delays in release due to the pandemic and finally reached French cinemas in March 2022. His latest feature film, "Le Diable n'existe pas" (The Devil Doesn't Exist), explores the story of Heshmat, an exemplary husband and father whose mysterious morning activities remain unknown. Additionally, the film follows Pouya, a young conscript who struggles with the order to kill another man. In the making of "Le Diable n'existe pas," Mohammad Rasoulof and his team defied censorship regulations and often had to shoot clandestinely to bring the film to fruition. It is worth noting that Rasoulof has faced previous convictions related to gathering and conspiring against national security, as well as propagating anti-regime sentiments. In July 2019, he was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, followed by two years of travel restrictions and a ban on engaging in any social and political activities. Despite his absence at Cannes, Mohammad Rasoulof's work continues to challenge boundaries and shed light on societal issues through his unique filmmaking perspective.
Article written by Nizzar H.

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