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A SEPARATION director Asghar Farhadi receives lukewarm reception at home

Rachel Fox

March 14th, 2012

A ceremony set to honor Best Foreign Language Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (A SEPARATION) in his native country of Iran was canceled by authorities there on Monday. Despite the film's win and its receiving critical accolades the world over, it is likely that those conservatives and hard-liners in charge have a less than stellar view of the film, which poetically highlights the tragedy of a single family against the complicated backdrop of that country's current political situation. During his acceptance speech last month, Farhadi said that he hoped the win would bring attention to other Iranian culture “hidden under the heavy dust of politics.”

In a retort that seems ghostwritten by Herr Goebbels himself, Iranian state media opportunistically seized upon A SEPARATION's Oscar win to trumpet victory over Israel (Josephs Cedar's FOOTNOTE was nominated in the same category), as it succeeded in "leaving behind" a film from the "Zionist regime." Javad Shamaghdari, head of Iran's Cinematic Agency, portrayed the Oscar decision as the "beginning of the collapse" of Israeli influence that "beats the drum of war" in the U.S. (Keep it classy, Iranian state media!)

Plans to honor and celebrate the victorious director in Tehran were suddenly cancelled by the authorities, which typically approve all public events in Iran. Farhadi, whose return home was received with a hero's welcome, was quoted as saying, "I love my country and I would not change it for anything in the world."

The Center for Directors of Iranian Cinema and the High Council of Producers of Iranian Cinema issued an apologetic statement condemning the decision that denied them of a ceremony. “We intended to have a simple and friendly meeting to say ‘thank you’ for the great achievement you brought Iran and Iranian cinema but the cultural custodians did not let us realize this,” the statement said.

Perhaps taking a cue from Woody Allen, Farhadi's next feature is set to begin filming in Paris in the fall.

Source Variety, New York Times

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