Imprisoning filmmakers, musicians and artists in Iran

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    21st April 2010

    Followed through from this at Foreign Policy

    Exiled Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi tells FP how he fell in love with cinema — and why Iran needs its film industry now more than ever.

    Earlier this week, a prominent Iranian filmmaker, Mohammad Nourizad, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for “insulting” Iran’s leaders in the aftermath of last June’s presidential election. He is hardly the first filmmaker to get in trouble with the regime; today, artists like Nourizad are at the center of Iran’s internal struggle. For 31 years, social commentary under the Islamic Republic of Iran has become increasingly politicized. With the regime viewing the enforcement of strict religious values as one of its fundamental goals, the line between personal expression and criticism of the government has become blurred. Censors from the country’s Ministry of Culture have clamped down, but filmmakers have also pushed back, using their work to test the regime’s limits. Some, such as Jafar Panahi, have been thrown in jail, while others, such as Mohsen Makhmalbaf, have chosen exile.

    From the YouTube channel –

    NetworkReleasing — 24 February 2010 — Independent UK distributor Network Releasing will release the award-winning film NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS on 26th March 2010 at venues including Curzon Soho, Ritzy Brixton, Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen, Little Theatre Bath, Bristol Watershed, Showroom Sheffield, Irish Film Institute and the Lighthouse Dublin.

    The acclaimed fifth feature film from Bahman Ghobadi, the director of Half Moon and Turtles Can Fly opened the Certain Regard strand of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. It combines musical performances with an edgy underground narrative and follows Iranian musicians Negar (Negar Shaghagi) and Ashkan (Ashkan Koshanejad) as they look for band members to play at a London concert plus the visa that allows them to leave totalitarian Tehran to do so.

    NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS features music from a wide range of genres including Iranian rap, jazz and electric blues. Executive produced by imprisoned Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi the film includes performances in English and Farsi.

    For over 30 years the Iranian government has banned certain types of music compelling many fans of Iranian alternative music and western bands to go underground.

    The band that features in the film called Take It Easy Hospital now live in London having fled their homeland.

    Ashkan, the male lead in the film, was imprisoned in Iran for 21 days for performing in a rock concert.

    For more information go to:…


    Some might wonder if it’s worth having the Iranian system of artistic censorship here in Britain – just for a few weeks, say.

    After all, our unbalanced liberal literati, the traditional wellspring of the inspiration behind much of our artistic output,  is so fond of telling us that we ‘Brits live in a police state’. They have the right to say what they want in this ‘police state’, rubbish or not, and to incite away. And they do, in their self-obsessed state of semi-political consciousness. No-one arrests, imprisons or charges such halfwits, even when they try this or suggest this.

    On second thoughts, I think it might take a little longer than a few weeks to round up, charge and lock up such as the artistic ‘brains’ behind such films and books as ‘The Ghost’. Some of them are out of the country nursing their “human rights”.

    When it comes to criticising political leaders, ‘our’ guys and a few who’re NOT ours deserve an Oscar … er, Tony.


    In all seriousness, folks:

    Theo Van Gogh: To Murder a Dutch artist is to Murder Freedom

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    2 Responses to “Imprisoning filmmakers, musicians and artists in Iran”

    1. gopal naidu Says:

      When artist\film makers zafar panahi, Bahman Ghobadi, etc.. are arrested but their creeativity cannot be kept in four walls of any prinsons in any jail. I strongly condemned the arrest of artistic persons and demand the immediate release. their artistics expression are the expressions of society, and hence, it is contribution to overcome the from the weakness prevlanet in the soiety.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        @ gopal naidu,

        The Iranian government is clearly determined not to allow freedom of expression. Some might argue that it has gone too far in the free, western world – I do myself, as referred to above. But there is no putting the genie back in the bottle when freedom and free expression are permitted. THAT is what worries such as the Iranian government.


        Only 11 comments there. Hundreds when there is a post criticising the west – USA, Britain. Israel:

        This is the most astute comment, in my opinion:

        It is not surprising that a bunch of theocratic thugs should try to stamp out free expression.

        What is surprising is the support Iran receives from so many western libtards, who defend and excuse every act of brutality, and frame every criticism of the regime as warmongering.

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