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Filmmaker's arrest protested by Boston critics

Posted by Ty Burr  March 23, 2010 10:54 AM

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On March 1st, the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Pahani disappeared into a Teheran prison with his wife and daughter. The government prosecutor maintains the arrest is "not political" while at the same time pro-regime media outlets have claimed Panahi was making an anti-government documentary. In any event, the filmmaker was vocal in his support of the opposition movement and was not allowed to travel to the recent Berlin Film Festival. As of the 18th, in the face of rising protests from the international filmmaking community, Panahi was allowed to receive visitors in prison.

The Boston Society of Film Critics (of which Wesley and I are members) has just issued a public statement condemning Panahi's arrest. The statement says, in part, "The Boston Society of Film Critics has added its voice to the other critics and international groups in calling for the release of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who is being held in solitary confinement in an Iranian jail. Panahi, whose works include 'The White Balloon,' 'Crimson Gold,' 'The Circle' and 'Offside' -- films that illustrate the struggles of women and the poor in his native land -- was incarcerated on March 1st, 2010, and has yet to be charged."

There's an online petition circulating and a lot of outrage from filmmakers outside and inside Iran. Here's hoping it's heard.



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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.

Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.

Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.

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