September 24, 2004 11:09 AM Subscribe
Love in a cage. All Iranian filmmakers working in their homeland have to face the trials of the censor, but if the subject matter includes abortion, adultery and lesbianism, the chances of gaining official approval in the Islamic republic are all but zero. Actress Mania Akbari, the lead of Abbas Kiarostami's "10", explores this territory in her first feature film as a director, "20 Fingers", which unspooled in the new "Digitale" section at the Venice Film Festival (.pdf file) and won the first prize as Best Movie Shot On Digital. The film's use of digital video was also invaluable in getting around censorship: the only way to shoot in Iran on 35mm is to hire equipment from the central authorities, which means script approval and a government minder attending the shoot. Shooting on digital video requires script approval, but no minder is sent along. So 29-year-old Akbari, in an amazing display of courage, gained approval for one script and then duly shot another (she could now be barred from working or from screening her films or from even leaving the country, but she insists on working in Iran, to challenge the system from there and not from abroad). The film is coming soon at the Vancouver Film Festival. More inside.
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