Who is Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof? | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

“II left my house with my backpack, without my cell phone. From my window, I saw the mountain and the walls of the prison where I risked returning,” says Mohammad Rasoulof, throughout a press convention in Cannes, surrounded by actresses Mahsa Rostami and Setareh Maleki. A compelled exile that he sums up properly: “I left geographical Iran to affix one other Iran past the borders. »

The tradition publication

Every Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Receive the cultural information of the week to not be missed in addition to Surveys, decryptions, portraits, tendencies…

Your registration has been taken under consideration with the e-mail deal with:

To uncover all our different newsletters, go right here: MyAccount

By registering, you settle for the final circumstances of use and our confidentiality coverage.

With drawn options behind his darkish glasses, talking in Farsi, he recounts how he discovered political asylum in Germany. And how he urgently created his new movie The seeds of the wild fig tree, with the assistance of a small workforce. His work tells the story of a household whose father turns into an investigating decide on the revolutionary courtroom in Tehran, at a time when an enormous protest motion is shaking the nation.

The metaphor of a society and a youth underneath the yoke of non secular dictatorship, however all the time able to stand up. Wild fig tree seeds illustrates, in keeping with him, “a movement that will no longer stop”.

Show “the indoctrination of an entire people”

Arrested a number of occasions, notably together with his compatriot Jafar Panahi, and imprisoned twice, Mohammad Rasoulof was unable to affix the characteristic movie jury final yr, on the invitation of the Cannes Film Festival. This yr, when climbing the steps of the Palace, he confirmed pictures of two actors who remained in Iran: Missagh Zareh and Sohella Golestani. Both danger reprisals.

So right here he’s at this time within the highlight, “with a heavy heart” however nonetheless blissful to indicate the world “the banality of evil” and “how the Islamist Republic is capable of anything to stay in power and constrain, even eliminate , his opponents.

If it is both artistic and political, its message is simple: “I want to show the indoctrination of an entire people. For me the word “indoctrination” means: giving your mind to a different. What many voters, taken hostage, refuse. For these in energy, faith turns into the pretext for a political weapon. » Calm, decided, Mohammad Rasoulof has just one weapon to denounce this immense brainwashing: cinema. What he has been doing because the starting and which has all the time gotten him into hassle with the authorities of his nation.

Films feared by the Iranian regime

The filmmaker has been awarded twice on the Cannes Film Festival, for Bye (2011) and A person of integrity (2017), introduced within the Un sure regard part. Upon his return to Iran, his passport and private results had been confiscated at Tehran airport. He had been launched on bail.

Then, on July 9, 2022, he was imprisoned once more after signing a petition asking Iranian regulation enforcement to now not threaten civilians with their weapons, throughout protests following the collapse of a tower. in Abadan, within the southwest of the nation. His compatriots and co-signatories, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi, had been additionally imprisoned.

Between jail and exile, his chaotic life didn’t fail to encourage him. He has additionally signed movies feared by “this regime which presents itself as the supreme power, but is afraid of our stories”, he notes. ” After The devil does not exist (Golden Bear at the 2020 Berlin festival), it took me four years to embark on a new project. During these years I wrote several screenplays, but what ultimately led me to Wild fig tree seeds, it's a new arrest in the summer of 2022. I remember that an official admitted to me that looking at the big door of this prison, he wondered what day he would hang himself to escape his children's questions who constantly asked him: “What are you doing here?” “For me, it was like a spark that coincided with the start of the Women, Life, Freedom motion in Iran.”

Filmed in “the anguish of a new conviction”, this movie is, for Rasoulof, a approach of contributing to this awakening of the Iranian individuals and to the battle of Iranian girls. “To ensure,” he mentioned, “that Western spectators understand that not wearing the veil, which may seem banal to them, is a victory for us. » It is also a message of hope for new generations of independent Iranian filmmakers.

“I tell them, don’t be afraid! Do not let yourself be intimidated by the regime which does everything to constrain you morally and physically. Believe in freedom,” insists the filmmaker, decided to battle and work freely on behalf of all Iranian youth who don’t submit. “Today,” he concludes, “in hiding or in exile, we reside like gangsters. Yes, film gangsters. »