Global politics loom over Oscar foreign film event
By Jordan Riefe
BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - Nominees for the best foreign language film Oscar gathered on Saturday for an annual symposium to discuss their films, but a cloud of global politics loomed over the event in which Iranian and Israeli filmmakers both took part.
One day earlier in Los Angeles, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose divorce drama "A Separation" is an Oscar nominee, missed an award-related event saying he was ill, prompting reports in the Israeli media that he might be avoiding them and the director of Israel's nominee, "Footnote."
For Saturday's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences event, Farhadi did not pose for news photographers outside - although his actors did - and during the symposium, he and "Footnote" maker Joseph Cedar sat at opposite ends of the panel.
Afterward, he was whisked away before reporters could talk to him and taken to another event, the Independent Spirit Awards, where "A Separation" won best international movie. But Farhadi appeared only onstage and not in a backstage press room.
The Iranian government has treated some of its country's filmmakers such as Jafar Panahi harshly in recent years. Farhadi has said in past interviews he was not censored in making his movie, and it is impossible to know whether he feels government pressure now. But his fellow filmmakers said they understood his dilemma in meeting with the western media.
"If he (Farhadi) doesn't want to talk to the press, I can appreciate that," Canadian director Philippe Falardeau, whose "Monsieur Lazhar" also is nominated, told Reuters. "I can say a lot of stupid things to the press and I won't get in trouble for that back home. That's not his case."
Cedar declined comment when approached by Reuters to ask whether he and Farhadi had a chance to meet and talk about their respective Oscar-nominated movies.
HUMANITY, NOT POLITICS Continued...