Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 20:49 pm (KSA) 17:49 pm (GMT)

Iranian filmmaker lashes out at “dictatorship”

Director Rasoulof accompanied by actor Mohammad Shirvani both wearing green scarves (File)
Director Rasoulof accompanied by actor Mohammad Shirvani both wearing green scarves (File)

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, forced to make his latest film "The White Meadows" under difficult conditions, used the San Sebastian film festival to lash out at the Tehran regime.

The film, in competition for the festival's top Golden Shell award, tells the story of a man, Rahmat, who for many years has been tasked with collecting the tears of residents of several islands, although no one knows exactly what he has been doing with them.

Told in the style of a traditional Iranian fable, it is a veiled attack on the Tehran regime.

 I come from a country full of contradictions and suffering, where there is a dictatorship 
Mohammad Rasoulof

"I come from a country full of contradictions and suffering, where there is a dictatorship," and "censorship does not allow me to talk openly about what happens in my country," he told a news conference on Saturday evening.

The film was shot in 58 days with both professional and non-professional actors in beautiful countryside by Lake Orumieh, which is dotted with rocky islets covered with salt crystals.

"The conditions were very difficult, we had trouble getting permission, our budget was very limited.... It was a clandestine, underground film.

"It is very difficult to make independent cinema in Iran, we don't have subsidies and we don't have the right to show our films in Iran."

"The White Meadows"

 In Iran we must see things as the government wants us to see them 
Mohammad Rasoulof

In the film, a man is tortured for refusing to say that the sea is blue.

His face is put into salty water, he is forced to stare at the sun, and urine is poured in his face.

"In Iran we must see things as the government wants us to see them," and a "very small minority governs a majority that does not agree with it.

Rasoulof was accompanied at the news conference by the film's producer and one of the actors, Mohammad Shirvani, all three wearing green scarves, the color of the opposition candidate in Iran's June 12 presidential elections, Mir Hossein Moussavi.

Iran was rocked by mass protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election victory, and in the initial crackdown some 4,200 people, including top reformists, political activists, and journalists were arrested.

About 140 of them have been put on mass trials before a Tehran revolutionary court, which the opposition denounces as "show trials."

"The White Meadows" is one of 15 films competing for the Golden Shell award, to be handed out on Sept. 26 at the festival in the northern Spanish coastal city.

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