Premiere of religious film postponed

July 20, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- The Iranian premiere of “Hussein, Who Said No” has been postponed after protests from ulemas and certain people who slammed the movie, which is about the uprising of Imam Hussein (AS) against the Umayyad dynasty in 680 CE, over its depiction of some Shia saints.

According to the Shia faith, depiction of Prophet Muhammad (S) and his household (AS) in any artistic production is prohibited.

The film written and directed by Ahmadreza Darvish was scheduled to go on screen at Iranian theaters last Wednesday.

Earlier in 2013, when Darvish completed the movie, it sparked a storm of protest from top clerics in the country.

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance promised the clerics that it would only authorize the movie after some modifications. As a result, over 40 minutes of the original film was cut out.

The Culture Ministry screened the modified version last week on Monday during the 23rd International Holy Quran Exhibition in Tehran in order to assess the public reaction to movie.

Controversy arose again over the screening of the movie among top clerics, including Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatollah Mohammad Alavi Gorgani and Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, after certain people held minor rallies to protest against the film.

Consequently, Ministry of Culture spokesman Hossein Nushabadi announced on Thursday a postponement for its premiere “to allay ulemas’ concern and to inform them about the modifications to the movie.”

In an interview with Persian service of ILNA on Wednesday, Nushabadi denied any connection between the rallies against the film and the Culture Ministry’s decision to postpone its premiere and said, “The decision was made just to respect the views of the ulemas.”

“The film will be screened after the ulemas’ desired modifications are made,” he said in a press conference on Friday.

Darvish previously said that he had obtained the approval of some ulemas, including Ayatollah Ali Sistani, for depiction of members of the Shia Imams’ households.

The faces of Hazrat Abbas (AS), the brother of Imam Hussein (AS); Hazrat Ali-Akbar (AS) and Hazrat Ali-Asghar (AS), the sons of Imam Hussein (AS), and Hazrat Qasim (AS), the son of Imam Hassan (AS), have been depicted in scenes of the film.

“Hussein, Who Said No”, which is also known as “The Resurrection”, had limited screening during the 32nd Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran in February 2104 and won five Crystal Simorghs in the categories of best film, best director, best composer, best cinematographer, and best costume and set designer.