Dictatorships or authoritarian countries sometimes require the cutting of certain scenes from such and such a film to authorize its distribution. In Iran, the government did not bother to keep up appearances. On Wednesday June 22, Tehran announced that the screening of the film Leila and her brothers of the young prodigy Saeed Roustaee (author of Tehran law)shown in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May, was banned.

The feature film “has been banned by the Country Film Organization according to law”, said the Iranian Minister of Culture, Mohammad Mehdi Esma├»li, quoted by the official agency Irna. Directed by Saeed Roustaee, Leila and her brothers recently participated in the Cannes Film Festival, where he received the FIPRESCI prize (jury of the International Federation of Cinematographic Press).

The portrait of a poor family in an Iran in crisis

This nearly three-hour feature film paints the portrait of a poor family on the verge of implosion, in an Iran plunged into a deep economic crisis.mic. Iranian film authorities say they have banned the film ‘until further notice’ to get “breaks the rules by participating without permission at foreign festivals (…) in Cannes and then in Munich”.

According to the Organization, the film cannot obtain a broadcast license, given the director’s “refusal” to “correct” his work, as the ministry had asked him to do. During an interview with AFP during the festival at the end of May, Saeed Roustaee hinted that the film’s release in Iran was not yet authorized.

Saeed Roustaee, 32, is best known for directing in 2021 The law
from Tehrana detective film about the drug business and its repression by the Iranian state.

The Nights of Mashhad also in the sights of Tehran

At the beginning of June, Iran announced that it had protested to France against the selection by the Cannes Film Festival of the film Mashhad Nights by Ali Abbasi which tells the story of a serial killer of prostitutes in the main holy city of the country.

Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi won the Best Actress award at Cannes in 2022 for her role as a pugnacious journalist in this thriller. Great Iranian directors have been awarded at Cannes such as Abbas Kiarostami (who won the Palme in 1997) and Asghar Farhadi, who twice won the Oscar for best foreign language film and was part of the jury this year.

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