Iranian film festival loses its lustre
Annual event suffers as increasing censorship forces celebrated directors to stop working or move to the west
With an Oscar win last year for Asghar Farhadi's The Separation, you'd be forgiven for thinking that these are golden years for Iranian cinema. But ramped up censorship has sent several of the country's most famous film-makers into early retirements or off to western Europe and north America.
A look at the listings for this week's annual Fajr (Dawn) film festival, which commemorates the 1979 revolution and is one of the most important in the Middle East, shows another anaemic year for Iran's film industry. The number of new indigenous productions has dropped, leaving older Iranian films and foreign movies to pick up the slack. Film festival movies, which in the 1980s and 1990s were the only way Iranians could view foreign cinema, this year include Finding Nemo, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Harry Potter 7.