Iran To Boycott Venice Film Festival?

Iran may pull an entry from the Venice Film Festival over oil sanctions imposed by the European Union, a government official said over the weekend. “We naturally are thinking over a plan to boycott the festival this year,” the Culture Ministry’s Supervision and Evaluation Office Director Alireza Sajjadpur said. The fest, which tells me it has not received any word from Tehran, includes just one film from the country: Kianoosh Ayari’s The Paternal House in the Horizons sidebar. It includes depictions of difficulties faced by Iranian women living in a patriarchal family, and Sajjadpur’s office had previously demanded that Ayari make cuts in order to obtain a screening visa. But The Tehran Times reports those cuts have not been made. That begs the question of whether the film could screen in Venice regardless since the government decides what can and cannot travel. Still, in 2011, Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not A Film made it to Cannes by being smuggled on a flash drive hidden inside a cake, while the director was under house arrest. The Venice Film Festival runs August 29-September 8.

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