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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Director accuses Iran of film ban
Mohsen Makhmalbaf (photo courtesy of Makhmalbaf Film House)
The director says film-makers are being forced to leave Iran
An award-winning Iranian film-maker has said the Iranian government stopped him from making a film about what he called "the suffering" of his people.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf said Iran's ministry of culture had refused him a permit to film his script, called Amnesia.

The director, who made the acclaimed movie Kandahar about the Taleban regime in Afghanistan, complained of a "new censorship strategy" in Iran.

No spokesman for the Iranian government was immediately available for comment.

Makhmalbaf said the Iranian ministry of culture and Islamic guidance had officially refused a permit for the film on Tuesday.

He said the story "reflected two decades of pain and sufferings of the Iranian people and artists", and had taken him "years" to write.

"It seems that the new censorship strategy intends to push the Iranian artists to migrate from the country," Makhmalbaf said.

Samira Makhmalbaf
Makhmalbaf's daughter Samira is also an acclaimed film-maker
It had finally been completed in autumn last year when he was admitted to hospital in Tehran because of heart problems.

Shooting on the film had been due to begin in Tehran shortly.

Makhmalbaf also said his films had been subject to what he called "improper screening" in Iran in recent years.

'Pretentious'

In a statement on Thursday, he said: "Many of these films are either prevented from (being shown) or, in a pretentious manoeuvre, are shown in a couple of theatres for a short time and disappear before anyone finds out about the showings."

Makhmalbaf's film Kandahar, released in the West in 2001, won the ecumenical prize at that year's Cannes film festival.

Filmed inside Afghanistan, it tells of a female journalist who returns to the country to rescue her sister who has become depressed.

Makhmalbaf's daughter, Samira, competed for last year's Palme d'Or in Cannes for her film At Five in the Afternoon, about a girl struggling to survive in Afghanistan after the Taleban.

A spokesman for the Iranian government in London said he could not comment on Makhmalbaf's claims.




SEE ALSO:
Afghan plight jolts Cannes
16 May 03  |  Entertainment
Kandahar: The movie
19 Nov 01  |  Entertainment
Country profile: Iran
15 Jan 04  |  Country profiles


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