More Bad News for Iranian Film

At the risk of sounding like Howard Cosell, sometimes events happen that put what we do as film critics and filmmakers back into perspective.

According to a dispatch from Reuters, the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, director of such pro-women's rights films as The Circle and Offside and the stunning Crimson Gold, has been arrested for his opposition to the Ahmedinejad regime. Panahi was already banned from foreign travel, and he hasn't been able to make a film since Offside was completed in 2006.

Needless to say, I urge you to write to the Iranian government demanding confirmation or denial of the story and reminding them of their obligations under international law to respect the rights of their citizens. Check Amnesty International's various websites for information on how to write an effective plea. You can click on the graphic on the left-hand side of this page. And if you do such things, you might want to pray for Panahi and other dissidents who have been arrested. I also refer you again to the NY Times article on how Iran's filmmakers have responded to the illegitimate regime; you can find the link in the January 3 post.

And while we're on the subject of Iran, allow me to direct your attention to an excellent clearinghouse of information from Iranian progressives, hosted by Article 19, the Azad Tribune. A must-read in English and Farsi.