Domain Registration

After 14-year travel ban and jail time, award-winning Iran film director goes abroad

  • April 26, 2023

TEHRAN — Dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi has left Iran for the first time in 14 years for a trip to France, weeks after being released from prison, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The 62-year-old Iranian director, whose films have won numerous international awards, was freed on bail in early February after nearly seven months in detention in Tehran.

“After having fully served his sentence, Panahi was authorized to leave the country and obtained his passport,” his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told AFP.

On Tuesday evening, Panahi’s wife, Tahereh Saidi, posted a photo on Instagram of herself and the filmmaker at an airport, with both appearing happy to leave the country after a 14-year ban.

The lawyer said Panahi was traveling to France to visit his daughter.

Panahi was banned from making films and leaving the Islamic Republic after supporting mass protests in 2009 and making a series of films that critiqued the state of modern Iran.

That did not stop him from working clandestinely in the country, and his 2015 film “Taxi” won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Arrested in Tehran in July last year, the director was to serve a six-year prison sentence handed down in 2010 for “propaganda against the system.”

However, Panahi was released two days after going on a hunger strike in early February to protest the conditions of his detention.

“As far as I know, there are no more court cases against him,” Nikbakht said.

As well as scooping the Golden Bear in Berlin, Panahi won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film “The Circle.” In 2018, he also claimed the best screenplay prize at Cannes for “Three Faces.”

Panahi’s latest film, “No Bears” — which like much of his recent work stars the director himself — was screened at the 2022 Venice Film Festival when the filmmaker was already behind bars. It won the Special Jury Prize.

Related News