Acclaimed Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been barred from leaving the country to attend the Cannes Film Festival to serve on the Un Certain Regard jury.
As first reported in the Persian news service of Radio France Internationale (RFI), Rasoulof had hoped to visit Cannes this year after Iranian authorities temporarily released him from Tehran’s Evin prison after seven months in prison due to ill health in February.
Rasoulof’s friend and fellow dissident director Jafar Panahi was allowed to leave Iran last week to travel abroad for the first time in 14 years. He visited his daughter in France before returning to Iran.
Rasoulof, however, is not elated.
The 50-year-old director is one of the most prominent critics of the Iranian regime and his public statements have landed him in jail several times over the years. He is no longer allowed to make films and has not been allowed to leave the country for six years.
Rasoulof has continued to work and shoot films in secret. His position for 2020 There’s no harma devastating attack on the violence and hypocrisy at the heart of the Islamic Republic, it was smuggled out of the country and screened at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Golden Bear for best film.
Before his travel ban, the director was a regular at Cannes. Its features Manuscripts don’t burn (2013) and A man of integrity (2017) both premiered at Un Certain Regard. The former won the Fipresci critics’ prize, the latter the prize for best film. The international festival tour for A man of integrity was the last film Rasoulof was able to leave the country. When he returned to Iran after the film’s premiere in Telluride in September 2017, authorities confiscated his passport.
Rasulof was arrested last July, ahead of the ongoing Woman Life Freedom protests, for signing a petition condemning police brutality against protesters.
The Hollywood Reporter has contacted the Cannes Film Festival for comment.