Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Studies of censorship and cinema: in solidarity with Jafar Panahi

Image from Dayereh/The Circle (Jafar Panahi, 2000)

Film Studies For Free brings you a list of direct links to valuable and noteworthy scholarly material on the frequently iniquitous, and certainly far from just academic, subject of censorship and the cinema. 

Today's list is brought to you in solidarity with Jafar Panahi, the Iranian filmmaker who, on March 1, was arrested and imprisoned (reportedly at present in solitary confinement) 'apparently while working on a film that, rightly or wrongly, the authorities understood to be “anti-state.”'

As Vadim Rizov wrote for the IFC website:
Panahi's brilliant series of films from 1995's "The White Balloon" (his first feature) onwards have steadily ramped up the contentiousness. After "Balloon" and "The Mirror," Panahi ditched children altogether (normally the standard way of avoiding censorship) and began focusing on adults -- specifically, those damaged and abused by society. "The Circle" and "Offside" focus on women (enough said), and "Crimson Gold" manages to indict an entire society through the desperation of one pizza-delivery guy. Observing from a chilly distance, Panahi gives the disenfranchised a voice in the traditional visual language of the contemporary arthouse film -- until, all of a sudden, he's in the same spot as the people he's filming. What makes Panahi brilliant (and dangerous to the regime) is that he's a visceral filmmaker above all, in his masterful feel for the hustle of urban Iran.
To find out more about the campaign to free Panahi and other political figures imprisoned in the aftermath of the Iranian elections, do follow the links in Jeffrey Overstreet's post for Filmwell; also check out the Free Jafar Panahi Facebook group; visit the Our Society Will Be a Free Society: Campaign to free imprisoned writers and journalists in Iran website; or explore the website for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. If you would like to donate money to support the aims of the latter organisation, a direct donation link is right here (thanks to the Self-Styled Siren for highlighting this link). You can also follow, as filmstudiesff does, the micro-bulletins (and blogs) of the brilliant US-based film and media studies academic Negar Mottahedeh via Twitter to keep up with events in Iran, along with academic and other responses to these.

FSFF also wanted to publicise a related call by the Index on Censorship for short film submissions on 'the subject of freedom of expression or censorship, dealing with issues or events from a unique perspective that is not often acknowledged'.  
The call is on behalf of Index on Censorship, one of Britain’s leading organisations promoting freedom of expression and protection of human rights. We are currently in the process of curating a series of monthly EPIC short film nights with a focus on freedom of expression and censorship, in conjunction with English PEN at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon, London. The launch night for the event will be in mid-May, kicking off with a night of short films made by the Go Group in Georgia. You can find more information about the night here. If you do have a short film or documentary that you would like to be screened at one of these nights, email intern1@indexoncensorship.org with a short 100 word summary of your film, or a link to your video online and details of any charities/organisations that you are affiliated with. As Index on Censorship is a non-profit charity, we cannot offer any payment for the artists, just a platform and opportunity for new filmmakers to screen their film to a large public audience.

No comments: