Iran cautious over Golden Globe film "A Separation"

Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:04am EST
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By Robin Pomeroy and Hashem Kalantari

TEHRAN (Reuters) - The Iranian government sounded a note of caution on Tuesday about the success of "A Separation" which won a Golden Globe for best foreign film, saying gritty realist films favored by critics showed a skewed version of the Islamic Republic.

While Iranian movie fans were thrilled to see director Asghar Farhadi receive the award from Madonna in a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday, the Tehran government, which keeps a tight control on movie output, has shown less enthusiasm.

"You have always got to look at these festivals tactfully," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said when asked to comment on the movie which has also won the Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear and is tipped for an Oscar.

"Sometimes we see those who run these festivals grant precious awards to films whose main theme is centered on the poverty and hardships of a country's people.

"This should not lead our artists to ignore the glaring positive points and features of our nation and instead illustrate the kind of things welcomed by such festivals' organizers."

The emotional story of a marriage break-up won over audiences with its natural dialogue and dramatic treatment of themes of loyalty, class and family, scoring 100 percent from critics on U.S. website Rotten Tomatoes and 94 percent from viewers.

The added exposure from U.S. awards juries comes as relations between the United States and Iran are severely strained, with Iran saying it could close a major oil shipping lane if new sanctions block its crude exports -- something that would likely lead to a military stand-off.

"I just prefer to say something about my people. I think they are a truly peace-loving people," Farhadi said in an acceptance speech that pointedly lacked any overtly political message.   Continued...