Iranian Art That’s Not Allowed To Be Art

Andrew Sullivan —  May 28 2011 @ 7:06pm

Famed Iranian director Jafar Panahi wanted to make a fictional film about the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran. For that he was sentenced to 6 years in prison and has been barred from making movies for 20 years. His newest project, In Film Nist (This Is Not a Film) just premiered at Cannes. Tehran Bureau reports:

Smuggled into France on a USB stick hidden inside a cake (flavor unidentified to shield the identity of its baker and/or courier), it is officially credited as an "effort" by Panahi and [collaborator Mojtaba] Mirtahmasb. As for the rest of the credits, they give "Thanks to colleagues:" — followed by a blank screen — and "Many thanks to:" — followed by another. At one point, as Mirtahmasb shoots, Panahi says, "Go on, cut." "You can't direct," his collaborator replies. "It's an offense." Indeed. In the absurd, incredible, but very real world of This Is Not a Film, what isn't?