Iran: Ten films banned from international film festival

The new culture and Islamic guidance minister for Iran, Reza Salehi Amiri, announced on 19 January 2017 that ten films have been banned from entering the 35th annual Tehran Fajr International Film Festival set to take place 21-28 April 2017, reported the Center for Human Rights in Iran on 26 January 2017.

Amiri said the bans were “in line with the policies of the supreme leader” and that they affected films with “feminist and inappropriate themes”.

Though the ten films were not named, the human rights organisation was able to determine that some of the banned films focused on such controversial topics as the hijab and domestic violence.

Iranian film director Kianoush Ayari referred to the ban in a statement over his film ‘Kanape’ (Canopy), saying he would “no longer make any films where women are wearing headscarves in a private space or in front of strangers”.

Iranian female director Tahmineh Milani said on her Instagram page that her film dealt with domestic violence and “that’s why it was not accepted by the festival’s selection committee”.

Amiri took over as culture and Islamic guidance minister in October 2016 after then-minister Ali Jannati resigned from office after coming under fire for the approval of concerts in particular cities, including the country’s second largest city of Masshad, home to a holy shrine and pilgrimage destination.

Conservative practices hit Oscars
Women issues and those of decency are constantly called into question in Iranian society, especially in the arts world, as religious conservatives and government authorities continue to clash over social and moral values.

In Iranian news footage of the best foreign language film category in the 2017 Oscars, the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) crudely covered up actress Charlize Theron’s shoulders and neck while she was presenting the award, reported The Holywood Reporter on 28 February 2017.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s film ‘The Salesman’ won the award, which he was not able to accept as he was prevented from entering the US due to a travel ban. However, as Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on the director’s behalf, ILNA censors also covered up a small portion of her skin that showed through her dress.


» The Guardian – 1 March 2017
Iran news agency gives Charlize Theron a polo neck in altered Oscars footage

» The Hollywood Reporter – 28 February 2017
Iranian TV crudely covers up Charlize Theron for local Oscars broadcast

» Center for Human Rights in Iran – 26 January 2017
Prominent Iranian directors decry censorship after minister bans films from Tehran Fajr Festival

» Al-Monitor – 20 October 2016
Cabinet shakeup rattles Iran

More from Freemuse

» 27 February 2017: Iran: Band banned from festival due to women singing solo

» 21 February 2017: Iran: Writer re-arrested after temporary release from prison

» 21 November 2016: United Nations member states urge Iran to improve human rights

» 2 September 2016: Iran: Concerts in the crosshairs

» 9 June 2016: Iran: Film screening banned due to religious pressure

» 23 May 2016: Iran: Concerts cancelled under pressure from religious conservatives

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