Following the official invitation from the world's most important film event for Mohammad Rasoulof to be a member of the jury of Un Certain Regard, the filmmaker was prevented by the Iranian authorities from attending the 2023 Cannes International Film Festival. On Tuesday, May 2nd, the Festival de Cannes announced the jury of the section, which includes American actor John C. Reilly as jury president. Rasoulof was set to join colleagues French director and screenwriter Alice Winocour, German actress Paula Beer, French-Cambodian director and producer Davy Chou and Belgian actress Émilie Dequenne on the Croisette.
With the announcement of the names of the judges of the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, the Farsi section of Radio France International, following up with news sources in Paris, disclosed that the organizers of the festival are still trying to provide the conditions for Rasoulof's presence at Cannes this year.
These same sources mentioned that after the filmmaker's release from prison, the Cannes officials invited him to be part of the Un Certain Regard jury and hoped that Rasoulof, like Jafar Panahi, another Iranian filmmaker who had undergone a travel ban but recently was seen leaving the country on holiday, would be able to leave Iran to attend. It was not to be so. The 50-year-old director is still facing a ban on leaving the country.
Rasoulof received the top Un Certain Regard award in Cannes for his 2017 A Man of Integrity, the critics' award in 2013 for Manuscripts Don't Burn, and the best director award in Un Certain Regard in Cannes for his 2011 film Goodbye. at the
Rasoulof, who has been imprisoned many times since 2008, has not been able to leave the country for the past six years, according to the order of the judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, he never stopped making films, and during these challenging years, he also won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2020 with his film There Is No Evil.
In July 2022 Rasoulof was arrested after the publication of the "Put down your gun" statement. This statement, which was published after the collapse of "Metropole", the resumption of public protests and the firing of officers at the protesters, asked the military not to draw their weapons on the people and to lay them down.
The release of "Put down your gun", which was signed by hundreds of well-known cinema people, led to the arrest of Mohammad Rasoulof and Mustafa Al-Ahmed, an Iranian cinematographer. Rasulof was imprisoned until the winter of 2023 and after being transferred to a hospital for treatment, he was pardoned and released.
Top image by © Mansour Jahani, used with permission.