And a Happy New Year to All

Yeah, I broke my new year's resolution early this year, like before Christmas. That's why I don't actually make them. But here I am breaking the silence as well to wish all a busy production schedule for 2011.

As regular readers know, I won't be ready to post a true ten-best list until something like March, when the Iras finally take place. But my editor at Jewish Week asked me for a year-end wrap-up for film, which is a first, and I obliged him with what I think is a pretty interesting overview.

I regret omitting a few items of interest from that piece. I should have mentioned Frederick Wiseman's graceful and surprisingly funny Boxing Gym, and I meant to add that the year's most important re-release was the new print of Shoah. (I had a truly bizarre interview with Claude Lanzmann, which can be read here.)

It was a year that ended with at least one piece of really terrible news, the imprisonment of Jafar Panahi. As many of you will know, Panahi was out on bail until last week when he was sentenced to six years imprisonment and a ban of 20 years on filmmaking and travel abroad. His crime is for “assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic." For more information on Panahi and others with the courage to oppose the Ahmedinejad regime, I recommend several websites:

The Green Voice of Freedom: http://en.irangreenvoice.com/
Tehran Avenue: http://www.tehranavenue.com/
Reporters Without Frontiers -- Iran Page: http://en.rsf.org/iran-press-freedom-violations-recounted-31-12-2009,33433.html
Article 19 -- Global Campaign for Free Expression: http://www.article19.org/index.html
Index on Censorship: http://www.indexonline.org/

I will be updating the blogroll and other links, and will include these for future use.

Hoping your new year is cheerier than Panahi's.

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