Actor Shahab Hosseini criticizes cineastes over withdrawal from Fajr festival

January 17, 2020 - 18:44

TEHRAN – Shahab Hosseini, the star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning movies “A Separation” and “The Salesman”, has criticized those Iranian cineastes who have withdrawn from the Fajr Film Festival.

A number of actors and filmmakers have announced over the past week that they would not take part in the festival in sympathy for the families of those people killed following the unintentional downing of a Ukrainian plane by Iran.

“Every year, a large number of people and film lovers wait for the festival to arrive, and, as before, it has been part of the history of Iranian cinema, and like many world festivals it enjoys the support of public sectors,” the Palme d’Or winning actor Hosseini wrote in a post published on his Instagram.

“Now a number of cineastes have decided to withdraw from the festival. I do respect their personal decisions, however, I have my own criticism. I believe this act will help foster dissension, while the society needs unity and solidarity more than at any time these days,” he noted.

“This decision will even lead to a deep and perhaps irreparable division between the cineastes and their fans that would not be to the benefit of either side. And the idea that those who do not withdraw do not feel grieved and do not feel sympathy is quite wrong,” he remarked.

“The sacrifice of art and culture is no less of a disaster than any other. This festival can be turned into a memorial for those who were killed in the recent events to help remember their names. It can be a place to express feelings with the families of the victims,” he added.

“Art and culture is the right of the people of any country, and can be influential at any time and under any circumstances,” he concluded.

Starring and produced by Hosseini, “The Night” will be screened in the official competition of the 38th Fajr Film Festival, which will take place in Tehran from February 1 to 11. 

Photo:  Actor Shahab Hosseini in an undated photo. (ILNA/Mehdi Nasiri)

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