Cannes Film Festival will fete Jafar Panahi
Jafar Panahi won't be bringing a film to Cannes this year, but the Iranian filmmaker's presence will be felt when he is given a lifetime achievement award as part of the Directors' Fortnight sidebar at the global movie confab.
Cannes organizers said Wednesday they would give Panahi the Carrosse d'Or, or Golden Coach. The director in December was sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on writing and directing features on charges stemming from his film-in-progress chronicling the 2009 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The pioneer of the Iranian New Wave has been a staple at Cannes, with his 1995 coming-of-age story "The White Balloon" winning the Camera d'Or there and his working-class drama "Crimson Gold" taking the Prix Un Certain Regard in 2003.
Panahi, whose visa application to attend the Berlin Film Festival was rejected by Iran last year, is not expected to attend Cannes, although it will be interesting to see who else turns up in solidarity. Martin Scorsese, Harvey Weinstein and Paul Haggis are among the filmmaking luminaries who recently signed a petition in support of the director.
Panahi also will be featured at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival, which in the wake of his sentence has programmed a retrospective of his films.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Jafar Panahi. Credit: Atta Kenare / AFP/Getty Images