Cannes Prizewinner ‘3 Faces’ Bought for U.S. by Kino Lorber (EXCLUSIVE)

Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. rights to Jafar Panahi’s critically lauded drama “3 Faces,” which won the best screenplay prize at the Cannes Film Festival and will have its North American premiere at Toronto. “3 Faces” marks the …

Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. rights to Jafar Panahi’s critically lauded drama “3 Faces,” which won the best screenplay prize at the Cannes Film Festival and will have its North American premiere at Toronto. “3 Faces” marks the fourth feature from Panahi, who since 2010 has been under a 20-year ban imposed by the Iranian […]

Coen Brothers, Barry Jenkins’ New Films to Play at New York Film Festival

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Paul Dano’s “Wildlife” are among the films that will screen at this fall’s 56th New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Tuesday.

This year’s main slate, featuring films from 22 countries, also includes Olivier Assayas’ “Non-Fiction,” Alex Ross Perry’s “Her Smell,” Tamara Jenkins’ “Private Life” and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”

Five films were previously honored at Cannes, including Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book.” Returning filmmakers include Alex Ross Perry, Claire Denis, Ulrich Köhler, Lee Chang-dong, Jia Zhangke, and Christian Petzold. Other filmmakers include Alice Rohrwacher and Pawel Pawlikowski.

Also Read: Willem Dafoe’s Van Gogh Biopic ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ to Close New York Film Festival

The festival will kick off on September 28 and run through October 14.

As previously announced, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” will open the festival while Alfonso Cuaron’s “ROMA” is the centerpiece and Julan Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” will close the festival.

“Francis Ford Coppola said that the cinema would become a real art form only when the tools of moviemaking became as inexpensive as paints, brushes, and canvases,” NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement. “That has come to pass, but at the same time it’s become increasingly tough to do serious work that is beholden to nothing but the filmmaker’s need to express these emotions in this form in moving images and sound. So if I were pressed to choose one word to describe the films in this year’s Main Slate, it would be: bravery.”

Also Read: Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’ to Screen as New York Film Festival Centerpiece

See below for the festival’s main slate:

The Favourite (Opening Night)

Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

ROMA (Centerpiece)

Dir. Alfonso Cuarón

At Eternity’s Gate (Closing Night)

Dir. Julian Schnabel

3 Faces

Dir. Jafar Panahi

Asako I & II

Dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Ash Is Purest White

Dir. Jia Zhangke

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Dir. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Burning

Dir. Lee Chang-dong

Cold War

Dir. Paweł Pawlikowski

A Faithful Man / L’Homme fidèle

Dir. Louis Garrel

A Family Tour

Dir. Ying Liang

La Flor

Dir. Mariano Llinás

Grass

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

Happy as Lazzaro / Lazzaro felice

Dir. Alice Rohrwacher

Her Smell

Dir. Alex Ross Perry

High Life

Dir. Claire Denis

Hotel by the River

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

If Beale Street Could Talk

Dir. Barry Jenkins 

The Image Book / Le Livre d’image

Dir. Jean-Luc GodardBi Gan

In My Room

Dir. Ulrich Köhler

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Dir. Bi Gan

Monrovia, Indiana

Dir. Frederick Wiseman

Non-Fiction / Doubles vies

Dir. Olivier Assayas

Private Life

Dir. Tamara Jenkins

RAY & LIZ

Dir. Richard Billingham

Shoplifters

Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda

Sorry Angel

Dir. Christophe Honoré

Too Late to Die Young

Dir. Dominga Sotomayor

Transit

Dir. Christian Petzold

Wildlife

Dir. Paul Dano

Related stories from TheWrap:

Kate Winslet, Steven Spielberg, Bob Dylan Added to New York Film Festival Lineup

Barry Jenkins Shares First ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Teaser on James Baldwin’s Birthday (Video)

Barry Jenkins to Direct James Baldwin’s ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ as ‘Moonlight’ Follow-Up Feature

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Paul Dano’s “Wildlife” are among the films that will screen at this fall’s 56th New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Tuesday.

This year’s main slate, featuring films from 22 countries, also includes Olivier Assayas’ “Non-Fiction,” Alex Ross Perry’s “Her Smell,” Tamara Jenkins’ “Private Life” and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”

Five films were previously honored at Cannes, including Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book.” Returning filmmakers include Alex Ross Perry, Claire Denis, Ulrich Köhler, Lee Chang-dong, Jia Zhangke, and Christian Petzold. Other filmmakers include Alice Rohrwacher and Pawel Pawlikowski.

The festival will kick off on September 28 and run through October 14.

As previously announced, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” will open the festival while Alfonso Cuaron’s “ROMA” is the centerpiece and Julan Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” will close the festival.

“Francis Ford Coppola said that the cinema would become a real art form only when the tools of moviemaking became as inexpensive as paints, brushes, and canvases,” NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement. “That has come to pass, but at the same time it’s become increasingly tough to do serious work that is beholden to nothing but the filmmaker’s need to express these emotions in this form in moving images and sound. So if I were pressed to choose one word to describe the films in this year’s Main Slate, it would be: bravery.”

See below for the festival’s main slate:

The Favourite (Opening Night)

Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

ROMA (Centerpiece)

Dir. Alfonso Cuarón

At Eternity’s Gate (Closing Night)

Dir. Julian Schnabel

3 Faces

Dir. Jafar Panahi

Asako I & II

Dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Ash Is Purest White

Dir. Jia Zhangke

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Dir. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Burning

Dir. Lee Chang-dong

Cold War

Dir. Paweł Pawlikowski

A Faithful Man / L’Homme fidèle

Dir. Louis Garrel

A Family Tour

Dir. Ying Liang

La Flor

Dir. Mariano Llinás

Grass

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

Happy as Lazzaro / Lazzaro felice

Dir. Alice Rohrwacher

Her Smell

Dir. Alex Ross Perry

High Life

Dir. Claire Denis

Hotel by the River

Dir. Hong Sangsoo

If Beale Street Could Talk

Dir. Barry Jenkins 

The Image Book / Le Livre d’image

Dir. Jean-Luc GodardBi Gan

In My Room

Dir. Ulrich Köhler

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Dir. Bi Gan

Monrovia, Indiana

Dir. Frederick Wiseman

Non-Fiction / Doubles vies

Dir. Olivier Assayas

Private Life

Dir. Tamara Jenkins

RAY & LIZ

Dir. Richard Billingham

Shoplifters

Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda

Sorry Angel

Dir. Christophe Honoré

Too Late to Die Young

Dir. Dominga Sotomayor

Transit

Dir. Christian Petzold

Wildlife

Dir. Paul Dano

Related stories from TheWrap:

Kate Winslet, Steven Spielberg, Bob Dylan Added to New York Film Festival Lineup

Barry Jenkins Shares First 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Teaser on James Baldwin's Birthday (Video)

Barry Jenkins to Direct James Baldwin's 'If Beale Street Could Talk' as 'Moonlight' Follow-Up Feature

Film Review: ‘3 Faces’

We are now eight years into the 20-year filmmaking ban imposed on Iranian director Jafar Panahi, for allegedly making propaganda against his country’s regime. “3 Faces” is the fourth film he has made illicitly under conditions a lesse…

We are now eight years into the 20-year filmmaking ban imposed on Iranian director Jafar Panahi, for allegedly making propaganda against his country’s regime. “3 Faces” is the fourth film he has made illicitly under conditions a lesser director might find paralyzing. But Panahi’s irrepressible, mischievous storytelling instinct has with tenacious regularity found its way […]

Cannes Report, Day 6: Harvey’s Ghost, Fainting Over Lars Von Trier

It’s been almost a week dodging raindrops and “No Selfies on the Red Carpet” warnings at the Cannes Film Festival, where all cylinders seem to be firing for filmmakers, sales agents and newsmaking stars in town.

The banished-ish Lars Von Trier (“Melancholia,” “Antichrist”) returns to the festival after a seven year absence over a press conference blunder where the director said he had some sympathy for Adolf Hitler.

His latest, “The House That Jack Built,” has a first look trailer — and, as social media tells it, has festival organizers preparing for extreme reactions from the crowd.

Also Read: Annapurna Wins Nicole Kidman Thriller ‘Destroyer’ in Cannes Bidding War

Elsewhere, the conversation about former Cannes stalwart Harvey Weinstein continues as embedded festival media reflect on his absence. In diametric opposition, the gender parity conversation moves from the red carpet to the big screen as films reflect a world fighting the patriarchy.

Here’s what’s shaking in the South of France today:

Lars and His New “House” 

Much has been made of Von Trier’s return after being declared persona non grata by the festival in 2011, but little has been shared about what he’s bringing to the table in “The House That Jack Built.”

Ahead of his Monday night premiere, IFC Films dropped a teaser trailer for the Matt Dillon film and it’s a doozy. The ’80s heartthrob appears to be a haphazard serial killer in throws of an existential crisis.  Uma Thurman and Riley Keough make Hitchcockian blonde cameos as Von Trier seems to be commenting on his own body of work through Dillon’s character.

“Some people think that the atrocities we commit in our fiction are those inner desires we cannot commit in our controlled civilization,” Dillon’s character muses in between bashing Thurman in the face with a car jack, imprisoning Keough in a hotel room and dragging a body from the back of a van as blood spills out onto the highway. Cute!

Also Read: Annapurna Wins Nicole Kidman Thriller ‘Destroyer’ in Cannes Bidding War

In the official Cannes program, a warning appears next to the film’s schedule times: “Certain scenes are likely to offend the sensitivity of the spectators.”

There’s even speculation on Twitter that the festival is putting medics on standby should moviegoers faint during the screening.

Here’s the trailer:



 The Fallen “King of Cannes”

On the heels of Salma Hayek’s comments that Harvey Weinstein openly discredited her abuse claims because she’s a woman of color, one critic reflected on the disgraced mogul’s absence.

“The late Harvey Weinstein (well, it feels that way) was famous for bossing the Croisette with his uniquely charming blend of proximal aggression and creative vulgarity,” writes The Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke.

He recounted a Weinstein anecdote about meeting Prince Albert of Monaco, who was allegedly introduced to the monarch by Roger Ebert as “the King of Cannes.”

A king no longer.

“The most horrible manifestations of his power lunacy have, following revelations last October, led to his virtual banishment from Cannes,” the critic said.

Also Read: Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘The Image Book’ Acquired by Kino Lorber

Equity On Film 

TheWrap touched this week on the blazing dominance of women in Cannes this year, from jurors Cate Blanchett and Ava DuVernay protesting on the Croisette to Monday’s pledge from festival organizers to level a massive programming gender gap .

The unifying sentiment is perhaps a direct response to the toxic Hollywood culture exposed in the Weinstein scandal — and now it’s showing up on screen.

“Girls of the Sun” takes a hardened look at a female Kurdish unit fighting ISIS, and is being interpreted as a prism for the real-world events unfolding around the festival.

“If this year is one of reckoning for women, then ‘Girls of the Sun,’ screening in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is the film for this era,” our own Sharon Waxman, founder and editor of TheWrap. wrote of the film.

“Any number of scenes swing between pathos and horror, but the film cannot possibly exaggerate the horrors that women in this part of the world have actually lived,” Waxman said.

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times singled out “Girls” and  Jafar Panahi’s “3 Faces” as titles that “battle the patriarchy.”

As political and empowering as it is to see parity steal Cannes’ thunder, it’s nice to see these social anxieties and battle cries for change show up in the movies. It’s a film festival, after all.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Film Festival Signs Pledge for More Women Directors, More Transparency

Annapurna Wins Nicole Kidman Thriller ‘Destroyer’ in Cannes Bidding War

Cannes Review: Pope Francis Documentary Is a Modest Film About a Bold Man

It’s been almost a week dodging raindrops and “No Selfies on the Red Carpet” warnings at the Cannes Film Festival, where all cylinders seem to be firing for filmmakers, sales agents and newsmaking stars in town.

The banished-ish Lars Von Trier (“Melancholia,” “Antichrist”) returns to the festival after a seven year absence over a press conference blunder where the director said he had some sympathy for Adolf Hitler.

His latest, “The House That Jack Built,” has a first look trailer — and, as social media tells it, has festival organizers preparing for extreme reactions from the crowd.

Elsewhere, the conversation about former Cannes stalwart Harvey Weinstein continues as embedded festival media reflect on his absence. In diametric opposition, the gender parity conversation moves from the red carpet to the big screen as films reflect a world fighting the patriarchy.

Here’s what’s shaking in the South of France today:

Lars and His New “House” 

Much has been made of Von Trier’s return after being declared persona non grata by the festival in 2011, but little has been shared about what he’s bringing to the table in “The House That Jack Built.”

Ahead of his Monday night premiere, IFC Films dropped a teaser trailer for the Matt Dillon film and it’s a doozy. The ’80s heartthrob appears to be a haphazard serial killer in throws of an existential crisis.  Uma Thurman and Riley Keough make Hitchcockian blonde cameos as Von Trier seems to be commenting on his own body of work through Dillon’s character.

“Some people think that the atrocities we commit in our fiction are those inner desires we cannot commit in our controlled civilization,” Dillon’s character muses in between bashing Thurman in the face with a car jack, imprisoning Keough in a hotel room and dragging a body from the back of a van as blood spills out onto the highway. Cute!

In the official Cannes program, a warning appears next to the film’s schedule times: “Certain scenes are likely to offend the sensitivity of the spectators.”

There’s even speculation on Twitter that the festival is putting medics on standby should moviegoers faint during the screening.

Here’s the trailer:

 The Fallen “King of Cannes”

On the heels of Salma Hayek’s comments that Harvey Weinstein openly discredited her abuse claims because she’s a woman of color, one critic reflected on the disgraced mogul’s absence.

“The late Harvey Weinstein (well, it feels that way) was famous for bossing the Croisette with his uniquely charming blend of proximal aggression and creative vulgarity,” writes The Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke.

He recounted a Weinstein anecdote about meeting Prince Albert of Monaco, who was allegedly introduced to the monarch by Roger Ebert as “the King of Cannes.”

A king no longer.

“The most horrible manifestations of his power lunacy have, following revelations last October, led to his virtual banishment from Cannes,” the critic said.

Equity On Film 

TheWrap touched this week on the blazing dominance of women in Cannes this year, from jurors Cate Blanchett and Ava DuVernay protesting on the Croisette to Monday’s pledge from festival organizers to level a massive programming gender gap .

The unifying sentiment is perhaps a direct response to the toxic Hollywood culture exposed in the Weinstein scandal — and now it’s showing up on screen.

“Girls of the Sun” takes a hardened look at a female Kurdish unit fighting ISIS, and is being interpreted as a prism for the real-world events unfolding around the festival.

“If this year is one of reckoning for women, then ‘Girls of the Sun,’ screening in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is the film for this era,” our own Sharon Waxman, founder and editor of TheWrap. wrote of the film.

“Any number of scenes swing between pathos and horror, but the film cannot possibly exaggerate the horrors that women in this part of the world have actually lived,” Waxman said.

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times singled out “Girls” and  Jafar Panahi’s “3 Faces” as titles that “battle the patriarchy.”

As political and empowering as it is to see parity steal Cannes’ thunder, it’s nice to see these social anxieties and battle cries for change show up in the movies. It’s a film festival, after all.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Film Festival Signs Pledge for More Women Directors, More Transparency

Annapurna Wins Nicole Kidman Thriller 'Destroyer' in Cannes Bidding War

Cannes Review: Pope Francis Documentary Is a Modest Film About a Bold Man

‘Three Faces’ Trailer: Jafar Panahi Defies His Filmmaking Ban to Return to Cannes Once More — Watch

It’s his fourth film since receiving a 20-year ban from the Iranian government.

Eight years after receiving a two-decade ban on filmmaking, Jafar Panahi is back at Cannes once again. “Three Faces,” his fourth film since that harsh sentence was imposed on him by the Iranian government, just premiered on the Croisette; in his review, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn writes that the movie “maintains the unique blend of introspection and intrigue that defines this singular director’s talent.” Now the film has a trailer to go along with the anticipation. Watch below.

Here’s the synopsis: “Well-known actress Behnaz Jafari is distraught by a provincial girl’s video plea for help — oppressed by her family to not pursue her studies at the Tehran drama conservatory. Behnaz abandons her shoot and turns to filmmaker Jafar Panahi to help solve the mystery of the young girl’s troubles. They travel by car to the rural north where they have amusing encounters with the charming folk of the girl’s mountain village. But the city visitors soon discover that the protection of age-old traditions is as generous as local hospitality…”

Marziyeh Rezaei stars alongside Jafari and Panahi in the film, which has yet to receive distribution.

‘Three Faces’ Review: Jafar Panahi’s Turns His Life Into a Movie With Another Statement on Censorship — Cannes 2018

The director’s latest thoughtful work widens his lens to look beyond his own challenges with artistic oppression.

Jafar Panahi was banned from filmmaking by the Iranian government, but the decree only led him to make movies in a different kind of way. Starting with the meta-documentary “This Is Not a Film” in 2011, Panahi’s creative frustrations have taken center stage in various inventive ways: In “Closed Curtain,” the allegorical tale of thieves on the lam folds into a broader creative lament when the filmmaker enters the frame to contemplate his characters, while the acclaimed “Taxi” found his camera exclusively in the confines of the titular vehicle as Panahi drove around Tehran.

The fourth entry in this innovative period, “Three Faces,” finds him acting in another story seemingly pulled from his real experiences — although this time, he’s more of the supporting character in a meandering but often insightful exploration of censorship and oppression in a society that accepts those phenomena as facts of life.

It starts with a call for help. Teen Mariziyeh (Marizyeh Rezaei) records a jittery video on her phone, addressing celebrity actress Behnaz Jafari, whom Mariziyeh says she’s been trying to contact to no avail. Hailing from a small, religious village in rural Turkey, Mariziyeh is desperate to leave home and pursue a career in entertainment, but her parents won’t hear it. The girl concluded that only Jafari can help talk her folks out of it, but having given up on ever reaching the star, Mariziyeh has decided to hang herself in a cave. The phone catapults to the ground. Did she go through with it?

Cut to a despondent Jafari, sitting in a car with Panahi, and contemplating that cliffhanger. Having fled a movie set when she heard the news, Jafari turns to the filmmaker to demand that they track down the source of the video to determine if the young woman really committed suicide. As Panahi’s typical slow-moving camera circulates through the vehicle and the decision to hit the road takes shape, an aura of mystery takes hold several fronts: Panahi seems to wink at audiences who have followed his on-camera exploits in several years, as his actions will dictate the narrative to come. He starts to drive.

At first, “Three Faces” becomes a pensive road trip, with duo crossing the border into Turkey and making their way to Mariziyeh’s village. Once there, they find her squabbling relatives and best friend Maedeh (Maedeh Erteghaei), initially under the auspices of uncovering the missing girl’s whereabouts. But with time, they engulf themselves in the small community, contemplating the alienation and yearning at the root of provincial life. Whereas Panahi’s last three features were solipsistic mission statements, in this case, he extends his fixations to the region as a whole.

As usual, the movie opens with a tantalizing premise and the immediate uncertainty about where it might go next. Ultimately, it offers less payoff, but the journey there is riddled with fascinating local color. As Panahi and Maedeh come across an elderly woman lying in her grave, and a sick cow blocking the road, the minimalist setting starts to feel like an apocalyptic wasteland. Yet even here, the movie concludes, young people harbor dreams of making it big and exploring the world. For the first time, this celebrated director’s legal problems shrink in the context of a much bigger picture.

For the most part, he cedes control to Jafari, whose mixture of outrage and empathy for the young woman who reached out to her becomes a centerpiece of the drama. At first, Jafari seems primarily concerned with exonerating herself from the guilt of causing a suicide; with time, however, a newfound responsibility takes shape, and “Three Faces” feels more in line with the canny feminist leanings of Panahi’s earlier films, from “The Mirror” to “Offside.”

Still, once the movie settles into its groove and lays out the bulk of its premise, Panahi seems almost too content to simmer in the setting and give up developing it much further. The story comes to a halt and staggers along through its second half, tidying up loose ends before regaining some of its appeal in the closing minutes, when Jafari takes back control of the material. Panahi can’t help but inject some of his usual meta-narrative finessing, with Jafari growing suspicious of the director’s intentions after recalling a project he pitched to her that bears notable similarities to their current circumstances. Are we watching the movie he conceived? In this case, such playful narrative questions are irrelevant to the more complex themes in play.

But even as “Three Faces” staggers along, it maintains the unique blend of introspection and intrigue that defines this singular director’s talent. At one point, the filmmaker’s mother calls him, concerned about reports that he’s making another movie in defiance of the government’s ban. He assures her they’re just “rumors,” and that might not be a lie — “Three Faces” is more of a feature-length sketch, with its snapshot of characters designed to widen the lens on a country determined on narrowing it. The closing shot mirrors the end of “Taxi”: another static image shot through a windshield, with characters wandering toward the horizon, uncertain of their destination but willing to keep moving anyway.

Grade: B

“Three Faces” premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It is currently seeking distribution.

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Cannes So Far: The Spotlight Belongs to the Women

If you’re looking to sum up the 2018 Cannes Film Festival so far, you might want to turn to an instructive scene near the end of Eva Husson’s competition entry “Girls of the Sun.” In the scene, Mathilde, a war correspondent played by Emmanuelle Bercot, is speaking to Bahar, a female squad leader played by Golshifteh Farahani.

“Be warned,” Mathilde says of the story she’s going home to write about Bahar’s exploits on the battlefield. “You’re going to be a heroine.”

“We’re all heroines,” says Bahar.

Also Read: Cate Blanchett Calls for ‘Parity and Transparency’ in Red Carpet Protest of Gender Inequity in Cannes

Is this the “we’re all heroines” edition of the Cannes Film Festival? Well, consider this:

  • Husson’s film, one of three movies in the competition directed by women, got what was by most reports the festival’s loudest and longest standing ovation at the end of its gala premiere on Saturday evening.
  • That same premiere began with 82 women, ranging from 87-year-old legend Agnes Varda to jury president Cate Blanchett, walking halfway up the steps into the Grand Theatre Lumiere and then stopping, as a protest against the festival’s historic scarcity of women in competition.
  • For only the second time in history, the main competition jury is made up of more women than men.
  • The biggest bidding war and the biggest deal in the Cannes marketplace so far has been for “355,” a globetrotting female-spy thriller masterminded by Jessica Chastain and starring Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing.
  • The biggest news so far has been generated by Saturday’s red-carpet statement read by Blanchett and Agnes Varda, and by an event scheduled to take place on the beach on Monday, at which the French gender equality group 50/50 by 2020 is expected to ask for a gender-parity pledge from Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux and the directors of the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sidebars.

The lack of women is often news at Cannes, but this year their absence and their presence is the biggest story of the first six days of the festival. The currents that hit Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and led to Frances McDormand’s impassioned Oscar-night speech have definitely washed up onto the Croisette, and this year’s Cannes, the first in memory without Weinstein’s oversized presence, is at least slightly more inclusive than usual.

Also Read: Cannes’ Female Troubles: Women Directors Have Always Been Scarce

We won’t know for at least a year how effective this year’s campaign has been; Fremaux has repeatedly said that he’s in favor of affirmative-action-style provisions to increase the number of women behind the scenes at Cannes, but he’s steadfastly insisted that gender should never be a factor in programming decisions.

And we won’t know if this is the year that only the second woman ever takes home the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. On the heels of Saturday’s “Girls of the Sun” screenings, some observers went so far as to brand Husson the odds-on favorite to follow Jane Campion (“The Piano”) as the only women to win — but that’s certainly a premature statement with 12 of the 21 main-competition films yet to screen as of midday Sunday.

Still to come: Two more films from female directors, Alice Rohrwacher’s “Lazzaro Felice” and Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum,” plus new work from esteemed auteurs Hizokazu Kore-eda (“Shoplifters”), Lee Chang-dong (“Burning”), Matteo Garrone (“Dogman”) and the only past Palme winner in the group, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“The Wild Pear Tree”).

Also Read: ‘Girls of the Sun’ Film Review: A Middle Eastern Feminist Hero Slays ISIS

Also in the wings are the two American directors in competition: Spike Lee with “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell with “Under the Silver Lake.”

That’s a lot left to see – and in addition, it’s entirely possible that “Girls of the Sun,” for all its effectiveness as a piece of cinema, might be too slick and even manipulative for the Cannes jury, however much they might want to honor a female director.

(I’d say it probably has a better chance of winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film than the Palme d’Or.)

So by the end of the festival, Cannes 2018 could belong to a different film – maybe a film from a different woman, more likely one from a male director.

Also Read: ‘Cold War’ Film Review: Romance in Postwar Europe Is Ravishing and Haunted

Of the competition films that have screened since the festival opened on Tuesday with Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” the one to receive the most acclaim is probably “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski’s austere love story “Cold War,” though Kirill Serebrennikov’s Russian punk(ish) musical “Leto,” Jafar Panahi’s modestly subversive “Three Faces,” Christophe Honore’s AIDS saga “Sorry Angel” and Jean-Luc Godard’s assaultive “The Image Book” all have strong partisans.

So far, though, the biggest discoveries of Cannes ’18 have been in the margins, with films like Lukas Dhont’s affecting transgender teen drama “Girl,” while the biggest buzz has been around transgressive treats like Gaspar Noe’s predictably extreme “Climax” and Ali Abbasi’s troll-sex romp “Borders.”

Still, none of those have had anywhere near enough heat to steal the spotlight from those 82 women standing on the steps of Grand Theatre Lumiere on Saturday. For now, that’s the story of the 71st Cannes Film Festival: All the heroines.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Report, Day 4: Sales Market Heats Up, ‘355’ Sparks Bidding War, Jean-Luc Godard Is Back

‘Girl’ Film Review: Transgender Teen Drama Is a True Cannes Discovery

Cannes Confirms ‘Don Quixote’ for Closing Night, Praises Court Win: ‘Cinema Has Regained Its Rights’

If you’re looking to sum up the 2018 Cannes Film Festival so far, you might want to turn to an instructive scene near the end of Eva Husson’s competition entry “Girls of the Sun.” In the scene, Mathilde, a war correspondent played by Emmanuelle Bercot, is speaking to Bahar, a female squad leader played by Golshifteh Farahani.

“Be warned,” Mathilde says of the story she’s going home to write about Bahar’s exploits on the battlefield. “You’re going to be a heroine.”

“We’re all heroines,” says Bahar.

Is this the “we’re all heroines” edition of the Cannes Film Festival? Well, consider this:

  • Husson’s film, one of three movies in the competition directed by women, got what was by most reports the festival’s loudest and longest standing ovation at the end of its gala premiere on Saturday evening.
  • That same premiere began with 82 women, ranging from 87-year-old legend Agnes Varda to jury president Cate Blanchett, walking halfway up the steps into the Grand Theatre Lumiere and then stopping, as a protest against the festival’s historic scarcity of women in competition.
  • For only the second time in history, the main competition jury is made up of more women than men.
  • The biggest bidding war and the biggest deal in the Cannes marketplace so far has been for “355,” a globetrotting female-spy thriller masterminded by Jessica Chastain and starring Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing.
  • The biggest news so far has been generated by Saturday’s red-carpet statement read by Blanchett and Agnes Varda, and by an event scheduled to take place on the beach on Monday, at which the French gender equality group 50/50 by 2020 is expected to ask for a gender-parity pledge from Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux and the directors of the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sidebars.

The lack of women is often news at Cannes, but this year their absence and their presence is the biggest story of the first six days of the festival. The currents that hit Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and led to Frances McDormand’s impassioned Oscar-night speech have definitely washed up onto the Croisette, and this year’s Cannes, the first in memory without Weinstein’s oversized presence, is at least slightly more inclusive than usual.

We won’t know for at least a year how effective this year’s campaign has been; Fremaux has repeatedly said that he’s in favor of affirmative-action-style provisions to increase the number of women behind the scenes at Cannes, but he’s steadfastly insisted that gender should never be a factor in programming decisions.

And we won’t know if this is the year that only the second woman ever takes home the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. On the heels of Saturday’s “Girls of the Sun” screenings, some observers went so far as to brand Husson the odds-on favorite to follow Jane Campion (“The Piano”) as the only women to win — but that’s certainly a premature statement with 12 of the 21 main-competition films yet to screen as of midday Sunday.

Still to come: Two more films from female directors, Alice Rohrwacher’s “Lazzaro Felice” and Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum,” plus new work from esteemed auteurs Hizokazu Kore-eda (“Shoplifters”), Lee Chang-dong (“Burning”), Matteo Garrone (“Dogman”) and the only past Palme winner in the group, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“The Wild Pear Tree”).

Also in the wings are the two American directors in competition: Spike Lee with “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell with “Under the Silver Lake.”

That’s a lot left to see – and in addition, it’s entirely possible that “Girls of the Sun,” for all its effectiveness as a piece of cinema, might be too slick and even manipulative for the Cannes jury, however much they might want to honor a female director.

(I’d say it probably has a better chance of winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film than the Palme d’Or.)

So by the end of the festival, Cannes 2018 could belong to a different film – maybe a film from a different woman, more likely one from a male director.

Of the competition films that have screened since the festival opened on Tuesday with Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” the one to receive the most acclaim is probably “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski’s austere love story “Cold War,” though Kirill Serebrennikov’s Russian punk(ish) musical “Leto,” Jafar Panahi’s modestly subversive “Three Faces,” Christophe Honore’s AIDS saga “Sorry Angel” and Jean-Luc Godard’s assaultive “The Image Book” all have strong partisans.

So far, though, the biggest discoveries of Cannes ’18 have been in the margins, with films like Lukas Dhont’s affecting transgender teen drama “Girl,” while the biggest buzz has been around transgressive treats like Gaspar Noe’s predictably extreme “Climax” and Ali Abbasi’s troll-sex romp “Borders.”

Still, none of those have had anywhere near enough heat to steal the spotlight from those 82 women standing on the steps of Grand Theatre Lumiere on Saturday. For now, that’s the story of the 71st Cannes Film Festival: All the heroines.

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‘Three Faces’ Film Review: Once Again, Jafar Panahi Is Modest But Profound

For the past few years, Iranian director Jafar Panahi has been sending a series of quietly confounding films to festivals that he’s not allowed to attend. “Three Faces,” which premiered this weekend at the Cannes Film Festival, is the latest of these little examples of his cinematic sleight-of-hand, and another Panahi gem that has more on its mind than it lets on.

“Three Faces” is typical of the canny director’s output in the way it’s modest but profound, leisurely but urgent, a portrait of a country disguised as a meandering road movie.

But it’s not like he’s using misdirection or only pretending to be modest and leisurely. Panahi’s films are all those things at once — and this one is particularly timely at this year’s Cannes in the way he manages, without openly criticizing his home country, to sketch a portrait of how the refusal to give women much agency in their lives is ingrained in the society.

Also Read: ‘Leto’ Film Review: Musical Biopic Is a Rock ‘n’ Roll Fever Dream

He is at once the most playful of directors and the most serious, using a light touch to explore heavy matters in the face of government restrictions.

Along with Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, a critic of the Putin regime who is under house arrest for what his supporters say are political reasons, Panahi is one of the two main-competition directors who has been prevented from traveling to the festival by his home country. Convicted of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” among other offenses, he is not allowed to leave the country, and in 2010 he was officially forbidden from making movies for 20 years, a decree he has now ignored four times.

The first was 2011’s wryly titled “This Is Not a Film,” in which the filmmaker sat in his apartment and described the film he would have made if he had been allowed to do so. The second, “Closed Curtain” in 2013, was a funhouse mirror of sorts, set inside a beach house where a screenwriter keeps the drapes drawn to avoid detection. And the third, 2015’s “Taxi,” was a wry and exceptional film that found Panahi simply driving a cab around Tehran and having conversations with his passengers about the state of life in the country.

Also like Serebrennikov, whose “Leto” was a highlight of the festival’s first few days, Panahi’s contribution to this year’s Cannes is a significant one. “Three Faces” continues to blur the line between fiction and documentary, and to subtly comment on the state of Iran.

Also Read: ‘Girls of the Sun’ Film Review: A Middle Eastern Feminist Hero Slays ISIS

The film starts with an iPhone video apparently shot by a distraught young woman who seemingly hangs herself after her family and her fiance’s family have refused to let her attend an acting conservatory in Tehran. The video gets to Panahi and to actress Behnaz Jafari, both playing themselves, who venture to the small mountain village where the girl lives in an attempt to track her down.

Typical of the director’s elusiveness, Jafari scolds Panahi early in the trip, saying that she thinks he may just be making a movie about suicide, not really investigating a missing girl. Then Panahi’s mother calls and says, “I hear you’re off making a film?”

“No, that’s not true,” he says.

“Now you’re telling your mother fibs?” she shoots back.

Also Read: ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Film Review: Michael B. Jordan Remakes Ray Bradbury for the Age of Fake News

The trip plays out in long conversations, in arguments and invitations to tea and discussions of what value entertainment has in rural Iran, where one character dismissively says there are more satellite dishes than people. The aspiring young actress, they learn, was branded an “empty-headed brat” because she wants to be an actress — but an aging star of some renown who lives in the area is treated similarly, and the townspeople alternate between adulation and scorn when they speak to Jafari.

A lot of things happen at a remove: Jafari goes into a house to speak to the young woman, but Panahi remains in the car and so does the camera. Attitudes evolve, slightly, but there’s no grand conclusion, just the sense that women, even famous ones, are there to be acted upon, not to act (in every sense of that word).

Before “Taxi” screened in at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Bear, Panahi released a statement: “Nothing can prevent me from making films since when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and, in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge.

“Cinema as an Art becomes my main preoccupation. That is the reason why I have to continue making films under any circumstances to pay my respect and feel alive.”

With “Three Faces,” he once again makes the audience feel alive as well.

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For the past few years, Iranian director Jafar Panahi has been sending a series of quietly confounding films to festivals that he’s not allowed to attend. “Three Faces,” which premiered this weekend at the Cannes Film Festival, is the latest of these little examples of his cinematic sleight-of-hand, and another Panahi gem that has more on its mind than it lets on.

“Three Faces” is typical of the canny director’s output in the way it’s modest but profound, leisurely but urgent, a portrait of a country disguised as a meandering road movie.

But it’s not like he’s using misdirection or only pretending to be modest and leisurely. Panahi’s films are all those things at once — and this one is particularly timely at this year’s Cannes in the way he manages, without openly criticizing his home country, to sketch a portrait of how the refusal to give women much agency in their lives is ingrained in the society.

He is at once the most playful of directors and the most serious, using a light touch to explore heavy matters in the face of government restrictions.

Along with Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, a critic of the Putin regime who is under house arrest for what his supporters say are political reasons, Panahi is one of the two main-competition directors who has been prevented from traveling to the festival by his home country. Convicted of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” among other offenses, he is not allowed to leave the country, and in 2010 he was officially forbidden from making movies for 20 years, a decree he has now ignored four times.

The first was 2011’s wryly titled “This Is Not a Film,” in which the filmmaker sat in his apartment and described the film he would have made if he had been allowed to do so. The second, “Closed Curtain” in 2013, was a funhouse mirror of sorts, set inside a beach house where a screenwriter keeps the drapes drawn to avoid detection. And the third, 2015’s “Taxi,” was a wry and exceptional film that found Panahi simply driving a cab around Tehran and having conversations with his passengers about the state of life in the country.

Also like Serebrennikov, whose “Leto” was a highlight of the festival’s first few days, Panahi’s contribution to this year’s Cannes is a significant one. “Three Faces” continues to blur the line between fiction and documentary, and to subtly comment on the state of Iran.

The film starts with an iPhone video apparently shot by a distraught young woman who seemingly hangs herself after her family and her fiance’s family have refused to let her attend an acting conservatory in Tehran. The video gets to Panahi and to actress Behnaz Jafari, both playing themselves, who venture to the small mountain village where the girl lives in an attempt to track her down.

Typical of the director’s elusiveness, Jafari scolds Panahi early in the trip, saying that she thinks he may just be making a movie about suicide, not really investigating a missing girl. Then Panahi’s mother calls and says, “I hear you’re off making a film?”

“No, that’s not true,” he says.

“Now you’re telling your mother fibs?” she shoots back.

The trip plays out in long conversations, in arguments and invitations to tea and discussions of what value entertainment has in rural Iran, where one character dismissively says there are more satellite dishes than people. The aspiring young actress, they learn, was branded an “empty-headed brat” because she wants to be an actress — but an aging star of some renown who lives in the area is treated similarly, and the townspeople alternate between adulation and scorn when they speak to Jafari.

A lot of things happen at a remove: Jafari goes into a house to speak to the young woman, but Panahi remains in the car and so does the camera. Attitudes evolve, slightly, but there’s no grand conclusion, just the sense that women, even famous ones, are there to be acted upon, not to act (in every sense of that word).

Before “Taxi” screened in at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Bear, Panahi released a statement: “Nothing can prevent me from making films since when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and, in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge.

“Cinema as an Art becomes my main preoccupation. That is the reason why I have to continue making films under any circumstances to pay my respect and feel alive.”

With “Three Faces,” he once again makes the audience feel alive as well.

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15 of Cannes’ Hottest Directors, From Spike Lee to Debra Granik to Paul Dano (Exclusive Photos)

Spike Lee, Debra Granik, Paul Dano, Alice Rohrwacher and A.B. Shawky are among the filmmakers presenting their work at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Spike Lee, Debra Granik, Paul Dano, Alice Rohrwacher and A.B. Shawky are among the filmmakers presenting their work at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes: ‘Everybody Knows’ Director Asghar Farhadi Pleads With Iran to Allow Filmmaker Jafar Panahi to Attend Fest

The Iranian filmmaker’s newest feature, “Three Faces,” will debut at Cannes later this week, and his fellow countryman is still hoping for a break on his long-running house arrest.

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s morning Cannes press conference for Asghar Farhadi’s latest film, the festival opener “Everybody Knows,” the Iranian filmmaker snuck in one last comment, unprompted by the assembled crowd of international press or his starry cast of heavy-hitters like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. After the conference wrapped, the “A Separation” filmmaker requested to have his microphone back, so that he could issue a comment on a situation clearly close to his heart.

“I thought perhaps we could go on to one last point,” he said. Farhadi pointed out that his is not the only Iranian film in competition this year, but that his fellow countryman Jafar Panahi was not in attendance to support his film “Three Faces” because of his ongoing house arrest in 2011 for charges of making propaganda.

The “Offside” and “The Circle” filmmaker was also banned by his own country from making films for twenty years, though he’s been able to make four features since the decision seven years ago. (The official sentence banned Panahi from directing any films, writing any screenplays, giving any form of interview with the media, or leaving the country except for medical treatment or making the Hajj pilgrimage.) In 2011, his daring documentary “This Is Not a Film” was smuggled out of Iran in a flash drive hidden inside a cake, and it was then screened at that year’s Cannes.

“I spoke to him yesterday,” Farhadi said. “I have great respect for his work. I continue to hope he will be able to come. I think there’s still time. I would like to send out this message. I hope the decision will be made for him to come. What’s important for him is not to catch a plane, but to see how spectators view his film, how they’ll react.”

“Three Faces”

Cannes

Farhadi added, “It’s a very strange feeling to be able to be here, whereas he cannot be here. This is something I have difficult living with. It’s wonderful that he’s continued to work in the face of such adversity.”

Many other filmmakers have also been outspoken about Panahi’s plight over the years, including Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Jon Jost, Walter Salles, Olivier Assayas, Tony Gatlif, and the late Abbas Kiarostami.

Fellow filmmaker Oliver Stone, a long-time supporter of Panahi, recently expressed a similar sentiment while attending Iran’s Fajr International Film Festival, where he commented during a press conference in Tehran that he should be allowed to attend the festival. A week earlier, Iran’s Directors Union wrote a public letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani asking that Panahi be allowed to travel to the French film festival.

Stone also expressed his admiration for Panahi being able to still make films, given his seemingly untenable situation. “The biggest victory is to make movies in the first place,” Stone said.

Panahi’s newest film, “Three Faces,” will debut at Cannes later this week.

Additional reporting by Anne Thompson.

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Oliver Stone to Iranian Government: Let Jafar Panahi Attend the Cannes Film Festival

The American filmmaker also defended himself from attacks in the country’s conservative press.

In a wide-ranging press conference held during his first visit to Iran, Oliver Stone expressed appreciation for Iran’s extensive history and recent cinematic accomplishments, criticized American policy toward the Middle East, and voiced his wish that director Jafar Panahi would be allowed to attend the Cannes Film Festival to witness the premiere of his latest film.

Spending a week in Iran as a guest of the Fajr International Film Festival, Stone answered questions from a crowd of approximately 150 Iranian and a few foreign journalists in the Charsou complex in Tehran. He started out by saying that the early part of his visit took him to other Iranian cities, including Isfahan and he was impressed at the hospitality he had been shown and the “warmth” he felt from people of all walks of life. He said he had long been interested in Iran and its 2500-year history and was fortunate that the invitation from Fajr came when his schedule would allow his visit.

The press conference was his third public appearance since arriving in Tehran on Monday, when he participated in a master class at Tehran University. On Tuesday, he was interviewed for an hour on live Iranian TV, during which he ignored a request to avoid the subject of politics and criticized the Trump administration for including John Bolton, an anti-Iran hawk, on its national security team.

Asked in his press conference if he planned either dramatic or documentary films about the current situation in the Middle East, or profiles of any of its leaders similar to those he did of Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin, Stone said did not. He also denounced what he called the “lies…of the Israeli right-wing press” including reports that he had requested an interview with former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2006.

His comments on Panahi’s situation were not his first encounter with the Iranian filmmaker’s difficulties. In 2010, Stone joined other prominent American filmmakers in signing a petition to protest the Iranian government’s arrest of the director of “The Circle” and “Offside,” which resulted from Panahi’s political activism following the “stolen election” of 2009. Though he was released, the government subsequently put him on trial, where he received a sentence that banned him from making films for 20 years (he is also banned from traveling internationally). Nevertheless, he has subsequently made four features unofficially; the latest, “Three Faces,” is scheduled to debut in Cannes’ Official Competition in May.

Last week, Iran’s Directors Union wrote a public letter to Iranian president Rouhani asking that Panahi be allowed to travel to the French film festival. (According to an Iranian official who spoke to this reporter, many people in the government, including Iranian ambassadors to foreign countries, support Panahi’s case, but the ban is being enforced by hardliners in the judiciary. It is unclear whether it might be lifted prior to Cannes.)

Stone indicated that he found it remarkable that Panahi has been able to make four features given his circumstances. He said he supports “freedom of expression” generally and feels that Panahi should be allowed to attend Cannes, where his debut, “The White Balloon,” became the first Iranian film to win a major prize when it took the Camera d’Or in 1995. “The biggest victory is to make movies in the first place,” Stone said.

Jafar Panahi in “This Is Not a Film”

Stone has been criticized in the conservative Iranian press for directing “Alexander,” which concerns the ancient Greek king who conquered Persian empire. Answering a reporter’s question about whether the film is “anti-Iranian,” he first said that he thinks the film has been judged on its original theatrical release version but that his vision is much better represented by the longer director’s cut released in 2014, which he said has sold millions of copies. He added that Alexander of Macedon did not set out to “rape” Persia but had an idea of an ecumenical worldwide empire that the filmmaker compared to the United Nations.

The conservative press also criticized remarks made at his master class indicating that Stone finds Iranian films “boring.” Stone said that his comments had been misinterpreted and that he was speaking about certain “festival films,” not Iranian films. He said he’s well aware of the Iranian cinema’s many recent accomplishments and is watching new Iranian films at Fajr with great interest. He also noted that, at last year’s Busan Film Festival, he headed a jury in a section where the co-winner of the top prize was Mohsen Gharaei’s “Blockage,” which Stone said he admired for its depiction of corruption in Tehran.

Regarding American policy in the Middle East, Stone said that he made much of his viewpoint known in his film “W.,” which concerns the administration of George W. Bush and its decision to invade Iraq in 2003. He pointed to a scene in that film in which vice president Dick Cheney (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is asked about the invasion’s exit strategy and replies, “There is no exit.” Stone said he thinks American Middle East policy has been disastrous since that era because it’s guided by a “neoconservative” philosophy of “creative destruction.” “It’s the same for Bush, Obama and Trump,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s president.”

Alluding to the current treaty with Iran restricting its nuclear program, he said that the United States has exited or violated many important treaties including the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and various treaties concerning the Middle East. “America is very good at breaking treaties,” he said. “Ask the Indians.”

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Jafar Panahi: Cannes, French Authorities To Appeal Iran For Filmmaker’s Fest Presence

In a first for Jafar Panahi, the lauded Iranian filmmaker has a berth in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival with his latest work, Three Faces. What is not clear is if he will be allowed to travel to the Riviera for the honor. In 2010, Panahi was arrested by the Iranian authorities and banned from making films. He has continued to work, but is unable to leave Iran and still faces a prison sentence which has not been enforced. Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux said…

In a first for Jafar Panahi, the lauded Iranian filmmaker has a berth in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival with his latest work, Three Faces. What is not clear is if he will be allowed to travel to the Riviera for the honor. In 2010, Panahi was arrested by the Iranian authorities and banned from making films. He has continued to work, but is unable to leave Iran and still faces a prison sentence which has not been enforced. Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux said…

Iran Pulls Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof’s Passport As Award-Winner Returns Home

The passport of award-winning A Man Of Integrity and Manuscripts Don’t Burn filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been confiscated by officials in Tehran. The incident occurred upon Rasoulof’s return to Iran on Friday evening, international film critics’ association FIPRESCI said in a statement posted to its website. Kaveh Farnam, producer of A Man Of Integrity (aka Lerd), which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes this year, told the org that Rasoulof is now unable to…

The passport of award-winning A Man Of Integrity and Manuscripts Don’t Burn filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been confiscated by officials in Tehran. The incident occurred upon Rasoulof’s return to Iran on Friday evening, international film critics’ association FIPRESCI said in a statement posted to its website. Kaveh Farnam, producer of A Man Of Integrity (aka Lerd), which won the Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes this year, told the org that Rasoulof is now unable to…

In Searing Iranian Drama “Lerd,” Corruption Creeps Into Every Corner

The Iranian film “Lerd,” screening in the “Certain Regard” section in Cannes, is a brilliantly told tale of corruption by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasouloff.

Reza (Reza AKHLAGHIRAD) is a fish farmer who lives a quiet life with his wife and child in the Iranian countryside. But he learns to his own detriment that society around him is corrupt, even as he resists being pulled into the insidious system of payoffs, bribes, lying and constant moral compromise required to survive.

He yearns for the simple rule of law, but finds it nowhere: a company trying to drive him off his land can access the water supply to his fish via the local police. The religious police trying to smoke out his secret supply of watermelon liquor is also pulling the strings in a bogus fine levied against him. It’s all an attempt to bring him to heel, but Reza will not yield, and his life keeps getting worse as debts amass and his child is targeted at school.

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Even Reza’s wife Hadis (Soudabeh BEIZAEE) is powerless to keep a young non-Muslim woman from being driven from the school where she is principal. And her attempts to balance the scales with the daughter of the controlling clan in their community backfires badly.

The pace of “Lerd,” which translates to “a man of integrity,” is slow and deliberate, allowing the audience to follow the unravelling of their lives while understanding the depth of corruption in every aspect of their existence. The toll begins to be evident on their marriage, and it appears as if Reza will explode at his own powerlessness.

At a key turning point, he visits a friend from university who reminds him: “In this country, you are either the oppressor, or the oppressed.” As he decides to fight back by breaching the principles he held dearly, Reza finally stands a chance.

Rasouloff makes a devastating commentary on Iranian society, far removed from official politics. As an artist he has himself paid dearly for his insistence on truth-telling principles that have run afoul of Iranian censors.

Also Read: Netflix’s ‘Okja’ Booed at First Press Screening in Cannes

According to his IMDB biography, to date Rasouloff has produced “five feature films which none of have been shown in Iran due to the censorship, while his films are enjoyed by a broad audience in cinemas and festivals outside of Iran. Until 2010 Rasoulof mostly used metaphoric forms of storytelling as his means of expression in his films. Since then he has shifted to using more direct forms of expression. In March 2010 Rasoulof was arrested on set at a filming location together with Jafar Panahi while they were directing a film together. In the following trial, he was sentenced to six years in jail. This sentence was later reduced to one year. He was then released on bail and is still waiting for the sentence to be executed”.

In 2011, Rasouloff won the prize for best director in Un Certain Regard for his film ‘Bé Omid é Didar'(Goodbye, 2011) at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2013 he won the FIPRESCI Prize in Cannes for the film ‘Dast-Neveshteha-Nemisoozand'(Manuscripts Don’t Burn, 2013) from the International Federation of Film Critics in Un Certain Regard.

“Lerd” is yet another searing statement that will resonate far and wide, if not in Iran itself.

The Iranian film “Lerd,” screening in the “Certain Regard” section in Cannes, is a brilliantly told tale of corruption by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasouloff.

Reza (Reza AKHLAGHIRAD) is a fish farmer who lives a quiet life with his wife and child in the Iranian countryside. But he learns to his own detriment that society around him is corrupt, even as he resists being pulled into the insidious system of payoffs, bribes, lying and constant moral compromise required to survive.

He yearns for the simple rule of law, but finds it nowhere: a company trying to drive him off his land can access the water supply to his fish via the local police. The religious police trying to smoke out his secret supply of watermelon liquor is also pulling the strings in a bogus fine levied against him. It’s all an attempt to bring him to heel, but Reza will not yield, and his life keeps getting worse as debts amass and his child is targeted at school.

Even Reza’s wife Hadis (Soudabeh BEIZAEE) is powerless to keep a young non-Muslim woman from being driven from the school where she is principal. And her attempts to balance the scales with the daughter of the controlling clan in their community backfires badly.

The pace of “Lerd,” which translates to “a man of integrity,” is slow and deliberate, allowing the audience to follow the unravelling of their lives while understanding the depth of corruption in every aspect of their existence. The toll begins to be evident on their marriage, and it appears as if Reza will explode at his own powerlessness.

At a key turning point, he visits a friend from university who reminds him: “In this country, you are either the oppressor, or the oppressed.” As he decides to fight back by breaching the principles he held dearly, Reza finally stands a chance.

Rasouloff makes a devastating commentary on Iranian society, far removed from official politics. As an artist he has himself paid dearly for his insistence on truth-telling principles that have run afoul of Iranian censors.

According to his IMDB biography, to date Rasouloff has produced “five feature films which none of have been shown in Iran due to the censorship, while his films are enjoyed by a broad audience in cinemas and festivals outside of Iran. Until 2010 Rasoulof mostly used metaphoric forms of storytelling as his means of expression in his films. Since then he has shifted to using more direct forms of expression. In March 2010 Rasoulof was arrested on set at a filming location together with Jafar Panahi while they were directing a film together. In the following trial, he was sentenced to six years in jail. This sentence was later reduced to one year. He was then released on bail and is still waiting for the sentence to be executed”.

In 2011, Rasouloff won the prize for best director in Un Certain Regard for his film ‘Bé Omid é Didar'(Goodbye, 2011) at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2013 he won the FIPRESCI Prize in Cannes for the film ‘Dast-Neveshteha-Nemisoozand'(Manuscripts Don’t Burn, 2013) from the International Federation of Film Critics in Un Certain Regard.

“Lerd” is yet another searing statement that will resonate far and wide, if not in Iran itself.