Iran & France Praise Asghar Farhadi’s Foreign Language Oscar Win (& Boycott)

Photo by Arte France Cinéma/REX/Shutterstock

Representatives of the Iranian government have lauded the team behind Asghar Farhadi’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner, The Salesman. The country’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, took to Twitter on Monday to say he was proud of the cast and crew for their Oscar and “stance against Muslim ban.” Culture Minister Reza Salehi Amiri praised the now double Oscar winner Farhadi for standing against “narrow-minded and racist policies of novice American politicians,” Reuters reported citing the ISNA news agency.

The government reps were referencing President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering the U.S. First enacted in late January and later blocked by federal judges, Trump’s executive order nevertheless led to Farhadi saying he would not attend the Academy Awards, even if given special dispensation to do so. Last week, he made an appearance via video at the UTA rally and last night appeared on a giant screen at the UK premiere of The Salesman in London’s Trafalgar Square.

The Salesman later won the Oscar on Sunday night, in what some see as a cause célèbre vote and rebuke of Trump’s immigration policies.

The film was co-produced by France’s Arte France Cinema and Memento Films, giving the Tricolor its own chance to weigh in. French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay said today that France “congratulates itself to have participated” in the co-production that “bears witness to the decisive contribution of our country to the diversity of world cinema.”

She added that The Salesman, which won the Best Screenplay and Best Actor prizes in Cannes last year, has a new distinction that “rewards an Iranian filmmaker who refuses to confine himself within borders that would oppose him,” Le Film Français reported.

Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari accepted the Oscar for Farhadi last night, reading a statement from the director. She said on his behalf, “Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which themselves have been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others; an empathy which we need today more than ever.”

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