Film Making In Iran, Allowed Until Banned

Making films in Iran means a dance on the red line. It does not follow any laws, its rules change constantly.

The town of Lavasan is located east of Tehran on the slopes of the Albors Mountains. The taxi ride takes a good 30 minutes, the switchbacks run through a landscape of brown rocks. Lavasan used to be a village. The houses have few floors and red gabled roofs, there are also luxury villas, and because of the many maple trees, the air is better than in Tehran. Above all wealthy Iranians and artists live in Lavasan.

Weird Laws In Iran

One of them is the director Mani Haghighi. He lived in Canada for a long time and looks like George Clooney. His film The Arrival of a Dragon was screened in the Berlinale competition in 2016. A surreal thriller with powerful colors. In Iranian cinemas this year, Mani Haghighi made it into fourth place with the comedy “50 Kilos of Sour Cherries”, one of the most successful films in Iranian history.

Mani Haghighi: “The film starts at a wedding party. The police come and a young man and a young woman find themselves in a room. He only wears underwear and is arrested. Everyone thinks they had sex, even though we know that this is not true. The film has caused controversy here. The conservative press went crazy because they couldn’t believe there was a sex comedy going on in the cinema that was so explicit by Iranian standards. ”

During the interview, Mani Haghighi receives a message on her cell phone: There is a rumor that “50 kilos of sour cherries” are prohibited. And that is exactly what happens a few weeks later – however, the film is no longer shown in Iranian cinemas at the time. It remains a mystery why the authorities approve the script and the finished film and then ban it afterward. Maybe because he was so successful much like banning successful journalists who found a gold mine of information.

Making films in Iran means: working until further notice. Mani Haghighi is prepared

“I am always amazed at what they let through in my films and what they want to take out. I never understood the logic of censorship in Iran. What I do, and it’s no secret: I film things that I know are going to be taken out just to meet their need to cut something out. ”

Over 100 feature films are made in Iran every year, more than in many European countries. The Islamic Republic supports filmmakers with foundations and money. Even the “Ministry of Culture and Islamic Leadership” – responsible for censorship – does that. Of course, only films that do not cross the red lines. They are not written down anywhere, but everyone in the country knows or better: feels them. In addition to sex scenes, criticism of the country’s religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is taboo.

Iranian films often get awards at major festivals. Watch these top-notch films that will capture your interest in Filmy online. This year the new film by Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi was shown in Cannes. A year earlier, Jafar Panahi brought the Golden Bear to the Berlinale with “Taxi Tehran”. He shows the paradox of Iranian cinema: Panahi is celebrated abroad, and at home, he is banned from working. Nevertheless, he continues to shoot – with a minimal budget, digital camera and in reasonably protected locations, in the house or in a taxi. He smuggles his films out of the country and is not allowed to give interviews.

Palestinian Journalists Protest Action Draws International Support from Social Media

Palestinian journalists have long been at the forefront in calling the world’s attention on how the Israeli occupation has resulted to abuse and agression by Israeli forces. However, many of those journalists were also among those who suffer as a result of such aggressions; from arrests to serious injury, and at worst, death.

The most recent incident of violence involved Muath Amarneh, a Palestinian photojournalist who took a hit in the eye from a shot taken by an Israeli sniper, while Amarneh was documenting Israeli soldiers in Israeli-occupied Hebron.

Although the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) issued a statement condemning Armameh’s shooting, the condemnation continued to fall on deaf ears as far as Israeli auhtorities are concerned. Even the sit-in protest against Armameh’s wounding held by Palestinian journalists in Bethlehem, did not escape the Israeli force’s abusive treatment.

As the PJS stated

“The Israeli forces’ aggression against Amarneh, only represents a part of a series of attacks launched by the occupation forces in order to suppress and prevent Palestinian journalists from covering Israel’s continuing occupation of the Palestinian people.”

Even the Peaceful Sit-In Protest Was Not Spared from the Aggression

The sit-in solidarity protest saw dozens of activists and journalists coming from across Gaza and the West Bank, to show solidarity in voicing condemnation not only the violence committed against Amarneh but for many other journalists who were either injured or killed by Israeli forces in the past years.

Akram al-Waara, a Palestinian freelance reporter for Mondoweiss, told of how the Bethlehem sit-in protesters took to the streets with one eye covered to symbolize Amameh’s eye injury. However they were immediately dispersed when Israeli forces started firing tear gas. The sound bombs sent the crowd of protesters scampering for safety.

Akram added the Israeli forces not only suppressed the protest rather quickly but also and went after people, detaining a handful of them for several hours. Akram reported that any journalist filming the protest was a target.

Palestinian Journalists Turn to Social Media for Support

Unable to take their peaceful demonstrations to the streets, the protesters flooded social media sites with one-eyed photos of themselves. The collage of photographs came captioned as “We are All Muath.” Underneath was a brief explanation of the reason why they covered their eye with either their hand or with a patch is to highlight the result of an Israeli sniper’s intentional shooting of Amarne, who was at that time was documenting Israeli soldiers occupying Hebron.

The Palestinian social media post immediately drew the attention of international journalists particularly Activestills photographers, who joined the protest by posting similar one-eyed photos of themselves under the hashtags “The eye of the truth will not be shut” and “We are all Muath.”