x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Banned filmmaker Panahi has a new movie, says Kiarostami

Panahi, who is under house arrest, has again managed to produce a movie under rather unorthodox conditions.

When Jafar Panahi's This is Not a Film landed on last year's festival circuit – including the Dubai International Film Festival – many assumed it would be the Iranian director's last piece of work. Shot in 2011, it documented his life under house arrest in Tehran while facing a six-year prison sentence and a 20-year filmmaking ban. The film was famously smuggled to Cannes on a USB stick in a birthday cake, then went on to receive widespread acclaim.

But according to his fellow Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi has managed to produce another movie under the same, rather unorthodox conditions.

"He has made his second film since he received his sentence," Kiarostami told Indiewire while at the New York Film Festival to promote his new film, Like Someone In Love, which will screen at this week's Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

"After his sentencing, he made the film that played at Cannes, and since then he has made another. I guess it will be shown at another festival. I don't know why, but that's a reality people cannot deal with."

Panahi has been a noted non-attendee at film festivals across the world since his 2009 arrest, with his symbolic empty chair becoming a regular addition to jury panels. His latest film would undoubtedly be welcome at any festival, whichever unusual, confectionery-based delivery method is used.

aritman@thenational.ae