Tehran (AFP) – Famous Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has strongly criticized the Tehran government in an open letter expressing his willingness to refrain from representing his country in the race for the Oscars.
On his Instagram page, Farhadi responded to those accusing him of adopting an ambiguous stance towards the Iranian authorities, writing, “How can someone link me in a misleading way with a government whose extremist media has never ceased in recent years to destroy, marginalize and stigmatize me.”
Farhadi lives between Iran and abroad, but he shot most of his films in his country, including his latest work “Qahraman” (“Hero”), which won the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and was chosen to represent Iran in the next edition of the Oscars.
The director added, “I openly expressed my view of the suffering that (the state) has imposed on the nation for years,” referring in particular to the repression of demonstrations in 2017 and 2019, and the “cruel discrimination” against women, as well as the management of the health crisis.
He addressed the authorities, saying, “If Iran’s selection of my film for the Oscars has led you to conclude that I am under your banner, then I expressly declare that I have no problem in reversing this decision.”
He continued, “I have never expressed any support for your reactionary position and ideas (although) until now I have never talked about the persecution I was subjected to from you. You confiscated my passport at the airport several times and conducted interrogation sessions for me.”
Farhadi has represented the Islamic Republic at the Academy Awards four times since 2009.
He became famous for his film “A Separation” (2011), which deals with a divorce story, and won him two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, a Cesar Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival.
In 2017, it also won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for “The Salesman,” which deals with the story of two married actors whose lives are turbulent after their wife is assaulted.
Commenting on the open letter, “Kayhan” newspaper, which is affiliated with the hard-line conservatives, “deeply regrets” the authorities’ choice of Asghar Farhadi to represent Iran in the Oscars.
“Festival awards and foreign investment seem to have changed Farhadi by (encouraging him) to paint a bleak and dirty picture of Iran,” the newspaper said.
On the other hand, the newspaper “Sharq”, which is close to the reformists, noted that “Farhadi’s image does not correspond to those who praise him or those who blame him in Iran. He has always clearly expressed his positions on social and political issues.”
© 2021 AFP
“Writer. Communicator. Award-winning food junkie. Internet ninja. Incurable bacon fanatic.”