Mohammad Rasoulof. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP.

Iranian Film Director Awaits Trial after Police Seized His Passport

Mohammad Rasoulof, director of the 2017 film A Man of Integrity (which won the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May), faces charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “endangering national security” by the Iranian government for his movie, reports Laure Fillon of Agence France Presse.

The film is a peek into bureaucratic corruption, or the “daily reality of graft,” according to Rasoulof. It is about a man unwilling to pay a bribe for a loan that would save his business. “Corruption has penetrated every layer of society . . . Corruption goes from the bottom of the social ladder right to the top of the pyramid of power,” said the director. Two of his previous films, Manuscripts Don't Burn (2013) and Iron Island (2005), were banned in Iran.

Rasoulof is currently on house arrest in Tehran, awaiting trial. His passport was confiscated after returning from the Telluride Film Festival in September. He was jailed once before, in 2010, with his friend Jafar Panahi, director of the 2015 comedy-drama Taxi. Rasoulof was sentenced to six years in prison, which was then reduced to twelve months, and finally suspended. Panahi, however, has been prevented from making films for the next twenty years. “I am completely in the dark, I do not know what is going to happen,” said Rasoulof. “[But] if people were not supporting me outside Iran . . . my situation would be a lot worse.”