Cannes film festival honors jailed Iran directors

Sat May 7, 2011 11:25am EDT
 
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PARIS (Reuters) - Jailed Iranian film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof will be honored at the Cannes film festival this year, organizers said on Sunday.

Rasoulof's "Good Bye" -- the story of a young Tehran lawyer trying to get a visa to leave Iran, and "This is not a film" -- Panahi's depiction of a day in his life as he waits for the verdict of a court appeal, will be shown at the festival, they said.

The film festival, which opens on May 11, will also see Pahani awarded the Carrosse d'Or (Golden Coach) prize by the SRF society of directors, a tribute to the "innovative qualities, courage and independent-mindedness" of his work, the SRF said.

Panahi, winner of many international awards and a supporter of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi in the 2009 disputed presidential vote, was sentenced in December to six years in prison and banned from making films or traveling abroad for 20 years. Rasoulof received a similar sentence.

"That they send them (the films) to Cannes, at the same time, the same year, when they face the same fate, is an act of courage along with an incredible artistic message," festival organizers Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux said in a statement.

Iranian authorities regularly accuse Western governments and media of conducting propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

(Reporting by Marie Maitre; Editing by Andrew Heavens)