By Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet 

Court bans comedy “We Are All Together” over Kermani accent of its villain 

June 21, 2019

TEHRAN – A court in Kerman ruled last Tuesday that theaters in the southern Iranian province must stop screening director Kamal Tabrizi’s “We Are All Together” over the Kermani accent of a drug dealer character in the comedy.

“The decision was made due to the Kermani people’s negative response in the social networks to the Kermani accent of a man playing the role of a drug dealer in the film,” Kerman Public Prosecutor Dadkhoda Salari said in a press release.

“This province has always worked as a shield protecting the country from drug traffickers, therefore it doesn’t deserve such an unflattering portrayal,” he lamented.

He also said that the court has filed a lawsuit against the producer and director of the movie, and it is seeking to stop the screening of the movie across the country.

The all-star cast and crew of the movie have protested the decision in a statement published on Thursday.

They expressed their sadness about the decision to stop screening the movie in Kerman and added, “The film has nothing insulting to any Iranian ethnic group.”

“Using villains and protagonists in a story is a dramatic necessity,” they wrote and added, “Provoking ethnic tension about cultural works and films is harmful and is a countercultural move.”

“We should not forget that the screenwriters and some members of the cast are from Kerman and we are all Iranians,” the statement concluded.

“We Are All Together” is about a group of passengers who survive a plane crash.

Tabrizi has an old hand in making movies with provocative stories.

In February 2014, his docudrama “Ancient Land” sparked a storm of protest from large groups of Bakhtiari people who claimed the series insulted the ethnic group in southwestern Iran by linking a Bakhtiari family to the Iranian monarchy and calling them British occupiers’ agents.

IRIB stopped broadcasting the series immediately and promised to modify it for broadcasting. Tabrizi made some modifications and renamed the series “Motherland”. In September 2017, he announced IRIB’s plan to rebroadcast the 60-episode serial in October. So far, however, the plan has not been implemented.

Tabrizi’s controversial comedy “The Lizard” was banned shortly after its premiere in 2003 following fierce criticism from Iranian officials and Muslim clerics.

The movie, which had been warmly received by people, was about Reza, the Lizard, a thief who disguised himself as a cleric to escape from prison.

Tabrizi also stepped across the red line of Iranian cinema authorities with his “Leily Is with Me”, a comedy focusing on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, which is called the Sacred Defense in Iran.

Photo: A scene from director Kamal Tabrizi’s “We Are All Together”.

MMS/YAW

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