Iranian street protests hit big screen in Venice

Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:30pm EDT
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By Silvia Aloisi

VENICE (Reuters) - Twenty one-year-old Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf brings the bloody street protests that followed June's presidential vote to the big screen in a film looking at the hopes and frustrations of the country's youth.

"Green Days" focuses on the run-up to the election on the streets of Tehran and features interviews with ordinary young people, mostly supporters of opposition candidate Mirhossein Mousavi.

The film blends fictional elements with raw footage of the swelling protests by Mousavi's green-clad sympathizers after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared winner, and their repression by security forces.

Some of the images were shot with mobile phones by the demonstrators, as the government imposed restrictions on independent and foreign media.

One shows the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who became a symbol of the protests.

Makhmalbaf's father Mohsen, a respected director, is now Mousavi's spokesman abroad and she said she had to leave Iran after the vote because the government wanted to arrest her.

She finished editing the film at a secret location in Italy to avoid Iranian censorship.

"Ahmadinejad can force me out of Iran, he can force foreign media out of Iran, but he can't force out all the Nedas in Iran and those who think like Neda," Makhmalbaf told Reuters in an interview, speaking through an interpreter.   Continued...

<p>Director Hana Makhmalbaf poses during a photocall of " Ruzhaye Sabz" (Green Days) during the 66th Venice Film Festival September 11, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>