By Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet

Controversial movie “The Bear” illegally uploaded on YouTube

August 31, 2020 - 18:26

TEHRAN – Iranian director Khosro Masumi’s controversial 2011 drama “The Bear” has been illegally uploaded on YouTube.

The upload has been done by a channel named “Shokufa Film”, and over 19,000 views have been registered for the film over the past two days, the Farabi Cinema Foundation (FCF), the owner of the movie, announced on Sunday.

The foundation has sent an email demanding that YouTube delete the movie from its platform. The FCF also said that a relevant organization at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance plans to file a lawsuit against the culprits.

“The Bear” is about Nureddin, who has been missing in action for eight years. After all this time, he’s assumed dead and declared a martyr. His wife has moved on with her life: she’s remarried and has two children. When Nureddin reemerges, he is devastated to discover that his beloved wife’s life is miserable: for years she’s been subjected to physical violence and mental abuse by her new husband. Longing to resume his family life and save his wife from torment, Nureddin pursues justice. But the complexity of family dynamics means that achieving a happy ending is by no means certain, and as reason fails, violence erupts.

It had its premiere in Tehran during the 30th Fajr International Film Festival in 2012.

Afterwards, the movie failed to gain the culture ministry’s permit to screen allegedly for its differences with the sharia law.

The culture ministry’s affiliate, the Farabi Cinema Foundation, purchased the rights to the movie in the support of the producer.

“Those who banned ‘The Bear’ several years ago are responsible for the piracy,” Masumi said in a press release published on Monday.

“The film is an ‘anti-war’ movie because we were not the initiator of Iraq’s eight-year war against Iran, we just defended ourselves, and ‘The Bear’ is not against the sacred defense,” he added.   

Masumi said that Netflix, an American technology and media services provider and production company, has earlier held negotiations with him to screen the film around the world.

However, the FCF has ignored his request for issuing a screening license for the movie.

“The Bear” is not the first Iranian victim of piracy that has occurred due to unnecessary bureaucracy in the country.

Earlier in September 2019, the Arabic version of “Hussein, Who Said No”, Iranian director Ahmadreza Darvish’s controversial movie about the uprising of Imam Hussein (AS) against the Umayyad dynasty in 680 CE, was illegally uploaded on YouTube, Facebook and EarthLink.     

YouTube deleted the copy of the movie from its platform in October following a threat from the film’s director and shareholders to take legal action against the video-sharing website.

Darvish spent 11 years making the film, which was completed in 2013. Its premiere during the 32nd Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran in February 2014 sparked a storm of protest from some of the top Islamic clerics over its depiction of Shia saints; consequently, it was officially banned in 2015.

Photo: “The Bear” by Iranian director Khosro Masumi.


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