The Official Competition hosted the screening of Lazzaro Felice by Alice Rohrwacher and Shoplifters (Manbiki Kazoku) by Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda. Yesterday, the Festival de Cannes was moved by the difficult destiny of three women expressing their artistic passion in Iran in the magnificent film Three Faces by Jafar Panahi.
The young countryman Lazzaro – mistaken for a happy idiot – goes to town to look for his friend Tancredi in Lazzaro Felice (France) by Italian director Alice Rohrwacher and in Shoplifters by Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda, a clan of robbers takes in an abused little girl. Hirokazu Kore-Ed is the recipient of the Jury Award in 2013 for Like Father, Like Son and the Award for Best Actor, given to Yuri Yagira for his role in Nobody Knows in 2004.
Congratulations to the Festival de Cannes for presenting the sublime film Three Faces by Jafar Panahi, the Iranian director still forbidden to travel abroad because – according to the authorities of Iran – of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic!”
A movie about women
No wonder Jafar Panahi is accused of denigrating the Islamic Republic: his film Three Faces is a film about women, their difficulty in following their aspirations and desires, apart from those men deign to grant them. Men who dictate the rules and establish ancestral traditions after the Islamic law. The “sulphurous” director establishes a kind of parallel between women, confined in the role of heifers, cows destined to be fertilized by a special bull – besides, on the ground and in danger of death – whose “balls are worth gold”. For all that emanates from the male member is “great”: the foreskin cut at the circumcision, according to the prestige of the place where it is buried, will determine the fate of the male child. But Marzieh Rezaei is a girl, programmed to be a simple breeder. So, she has to takes things in hand.
Saltimbanque, vocation that bestows dishonor
The girl is living in the village of Seran, lost in Iranian Azerbaijan in the middle of the remote mountains of the North-West. Passionate with cinema, she is dreaming of being an actress. To attract to the village Behnaz Jafari, a famous Iranian actress and to implore her help, she will stage her suicide in a troubling video. This desperate cry for help is the only solution Marziyeh has found in hope to study at the Tehran Conservatory and escape from his family who denies her to become a “saltimbanque”.
This vocation attracts disgrace on the family and isolates the girl, like Shahrzad who played and danced (!) in films before the Islamic Revolution (a historical star, whose real name is Kobra Saeedi), who lives in seclusion away from the village. These three characters of actresses, these three generations from the past, present and future, connected by a narrow and winding road with strict rules, concretely represent all the limitations that prevent people from living and evolving.
Driver like in Taxi Tehran
Behnaz Jafari’s driver is the director himself, extending the role he had granted him with in Taxi Tehran (Golden Bear in Berlin in 2015). To the chagrin of the censors, with his usual cinematographic ingenuity, in an economy of cameras and means, leaving the images and their power of evocation speak, Jafar Panahi evokes the problems of the minor role of the woman in the Iranian society and the persistence of ancestral superstition in a rigorous society.
Behnaz Jafari is a famous actress in Iran. She starred in many films such as Samira Makhmalbaf‘s The Blackboard (2000) and in very popular television series. Thanks to her notoriety, she is celebrated in the village like a star, while Shahrzad and Marziyeh are despised as saltimbanques and perceived as girls with loose morals.
The artist goes beyond bullying
Jafar Panahi is also showing that bullying can not deprive him of his status as an artist. The artist overcomes the hassle: persecuted in the village, Shahrzad continued to paint in the nature. The torment of the government towards the director is symbolized by a windscreen broken by a stone thrown by Mehdi, Marziyeh’s “disgraced” and crazy mad brother.
In 1995, his first feature film, The White Baloon, presented at the Directors’ Fortnight, won the Caméra d’Or. The Mirror, presented in 1997 in competition at the festival of Locarno left with the Golden Leopard. Three years later, The Circle creates the event in Venice and obtains the Golden Lion and the Fipresci Prize. Jafar Panahi wins the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2003 with Blood and Gold in Official Selection of Un Certain Regard. Hors Jeu, presented in Berlin in 2006 earned him the Silver Bear for Best Director.
Forbidden to make movies
Forbidden to make films in 2010, he co-directed with Mojtaba Mirtahmasb This Is Not A Film, presented out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011. Closed Curtain, co-directed with Kambuzia Partovi earned him the Silver Bear for his screenplay in Berlin in 2013. In 2015, Jafar Panahi presented Taxi Tehran in Berlin. Accalimed by critics around the world, the film wins the Golden Bear. With Three Faces, this is the first time that the filmmaker is competing for the Palme d’Or.
Despite the support of all film professionals (directors, producers, distributors, technicians, etc.) who wrote to Iran’s President of the Republic asking him to allow him to go to Cannes, Jafar Panahi could not present his film on the Croisette.
Three Faces (Se Rokh) by Jafar Panah
The Red Carpet of Le Grand Bain by Gilles Lellouche
Click to enlarge – © YesICannes.com – All rights reserved