Fighting for the Palme d’Or, and the Right to Fly to Cannes

He first made the plea on April 12, announcing the Cannes lineup this year. Six days later, a Russian judge extended Mr. Serebrennikov’s house arrest until July 19.

In Tehran, the Iranian culture minister, Abbas Salehi, was asked by Euronews on April 22 about the case of Mr. Panahi at the Fajr International Film Festival. He said: “Mr. Panahi’s work can be seen at different festivals in various countries, which makes it possible for him to win different prizes.”

Asked if it might be possible for Mr. Panahi to attend the festival in Cannes, Mr. Salehi said that a “final decision about this special question has not been made yet,” according to Euronews. “There is still time to see what will happen.”

Fighting for the Palme d’Or, and the Right to Fly to Cannes
Fighting for the Palme d’Or, and the Right to Fly to Cannes

Iran’s Culture Ministry did not reply to a request for comment.

The Cannes Film Festival has a history of presenting, and rewarding, the work of dissident filmmakers. In 1981, eight years before the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the Palme d’Or went to Andrzej Wajda’s “Man of Iron,” inspired by shipyard strikes led by the Solidarity labor union in Poland. For the next four years, Mr. Wajda, a supporter of Solidarity and of dissident Polish organizations, was banned from making movies in his homeland.

The Greek director Costa-Gavras’s movie “Z,” inspired by the assassination of a Greek politician, won the Cannes jury prize in 1969; it was banned in Greece until the collapse of the military-led government in 1974. The Kurdish director Yilmaz Guney, an advocate of Kurdish and leftist causes, won the Palme d’Or in 1982 for “Yol,” a film which he had directed from his prison cell in Turkey, and which he edited after escaping to France.

As Mr. Frémaux noted in the news conference last month to announce the festival’s lineup, “Cannes has always been a place of freedom, of creative freedom, and of the freedom of artists to be present.”

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