Cinema Organization of Iran gives thumbs down to “Leila’s Brothers” 

June 21, 2022 - 18:44

TEHRAN – Cinema Organization of Iran (COI) banned the Iranian drama “Leila’s Brothers” on Monday over alleged “law violations”.

Having premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the FIPRESCI Prize, the International Film Critics award, at the Cannes Film Festival.

In a press release, the COI at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said that the film was submitted to Cannes without the observance of the organization’s regulations for attending foreign festivals.

Thus the COI demanded that director Saied Rusitai and producer Javad Noruzbeigi make some modifications to the film to gain the organization’s approval for a screening of the film at Cannes.

The organization said the producer sent the film to the festival without carrying out the necessary modifications.

“By their dogged persistence, the director and producer have shown that they prefer the Cannes festival to screening the film for Iranian audiences,” the organization noted.

“Thus, due to a lack of respect for laws and justice… and the director’s official refusal to modify ‘Leila’s Brothers’, the film is not eligible to receive a screening license,” it added.

In response to the COI decision to ban “Leila’s Brothers”, Rustai said in an Instagram post, “I toiled away piteously to make this film; my soul was hurt over making it; please don’t hurt my soul anymore; please stop despising and threatening me!”      

Some critical remarks made by the cast members in interviews at Cannes, as well as actor Navid Mohammadzadeh’s move to kiss his wife Fereshteh Hosseini on the red carpet, provoked raging controversies from cultural officials in Iran.

Cinema Organization of Iran director Mohammad Khazaei called the remarks non-cultural and non-cinematic, and said that taking a strong stance on the Iranian government in press conferences would never bring them international acclaim. 

He called the moves exhibitionist and unfair, and exaggerated acting that the Iranian filmmakers made during the international event to garner awards.

Khazaei asked the Iranian Cinema House, which is also known as the Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds, to investigate the issue and report the results to the Cinema Professional Ethics Council.

However, the council has not published a report about the results of its investigations as yet. 

“Leila’s Brothers” will be screened at the Munich International Film Festival, which will take place from June 23 to July 2 in Germany.

Photo: A scene from “Leila’s Brothers” directed by Saeid Rustai.

MMS/YAW

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