For Jafar Panahi
The New Yorker / Richard Brody

It’s one of a seemingly limitless list of outrages committed by the government of Iran that the filmmaker Jafar Panahi was arrested at his home in Tehran on March 1 and is still being held at Evin prison. (The filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof was arrested then too, but has since been released.) Last Friday, Variety reported, “Panahi has yet to be charged, and his family and lawyer say they have had no access to the filmmaker, who has had frequent run-ins with the Iranian authorities.” The article quotes the actress Golshifteh Farahani:

“We are angry,” she said from Paris where she now lives in exile after being hounded by the Iranian authorities for starring in [Ridley Scott’s 2008 film “Body of Lies”]. “Jafar is one, maybe the only one, still in Iran who is talking. Most artists (in Iran) don’t talk because they would rather work somehow. I appreciate that, but Jafar is the one who had the courage to talk, and he talked for everyone.”

Panahi’s film “Offside” will be playing at BAM on Monday, March 29; it’s important to see it. I’ve got a capsule review of it in the magazine this week. It isn’t always the best artist who’s the most effective critic of government policy. There’s no gainsaying the social importance of movies such as “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” or “Brokeback Mountain,” even though they’re not artistically significant. “Offside” is vastly superior to both of these movies—Panahi’s uniq... >>>

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