New York’s Exit Art’s Digimovies is hosting tribute screenings in honor of convicted Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, starting tonight, with the Gotham premiere of Rasoulof’s Cannes premiere “Goodbye.” I’ve seen the film, and like Panahi’s “This Is Not a Film” (currently appearing on 10 best lists) can attest to its unsparing and incisive examination of living within Iran’s current oppressive political environment.
Next Wednesday, Exit Art will host a series of shorts, including Panahi’s little seen recent film “The Accordian,” which according to the synopsis, is Panahi’s last finished film before his arrest in 2010 about two young buskers in Tehran who have their accordion confiscated in front of a mosque.
The program also includes several shorts commissioned by Cine Foundation International, a human rights NGO, which launched a campaign calling for the release of Jafar Panahi. The films include “Untitled,” which was made by an anonymous filmmaker in Iran, U.S. director Jimmy Bontatibus’s “For Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof,” U.S. direcor Peter Rinaldi’s “One White Balloon,” UK filmmaker Tobe Morgan’s “Blind Artist Painting a Red Sea,” Mexican director Sergio Ortiz Borbolla’s “Voice for Persian Cinema” and Russian Irina Shatalova’s “For Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof,” which captures images from a flying hot air balloon followed by Panahi’s full letter to the Berlin film festival earlier this year.
Despite pressure from cultural organizations around the world and within Iran, Panahi’s six-year prison term and 20-year ban on making movies is still in effect.