Iranian freedom struggle becomes main focus of Berlin Film Festival

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 Iran's freedom struggle became the main focus of the Berlin Film Festival

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French-Iranian actress Golshifte Farahani, who sits on the jury along with its chairman Kristen Stewart, believes that cinema is an important tool in the struggle for freedom.

“In such a dictatorial country like Iran, art – it's not just an intellectual or philosophical thing, it's as necessary as oxygen”,– she says.
On Saturday, February 18, Farahani and Stewart joined a demonstration for women's rights in Iran on the red carpet, along with festival director Mariette Rissenbeck, who revealed that the Berlinale supported Iranian directors who “were not allowed to come to the festival”.

The Berlinale, the first major European film festival of the year, awarded the top prize “Golden Bear” many figures of Iranian cinema, including Asghar Farhadi (“Separation”), Jafar Panahi (“Taxi”) and Mohammad Rasoulof (“No Evil”). Panahi and Rasoulof were released from prison only this month, where they served time for participating in protests.

This year, several documentaries were shown at the festival, including “Seven Winters in Tehran”; Steffi Niederzoll and “My Worst Enemy” Mehran Tamadona, which tells about the harsh conditions in Iranian prisons, as well as brutal executions.

The scary film “Seven Winters in Tehran”, which includes materials smuggled out of Iran, tells the story of Reyhane Jabbari , who was hanged in 2014 at the age of 26 for killing a former intelligence officer who tried to rape her. Zar Amir Ebrahimi, who won the Best Actress award at Cannes last year, talks about the film through letters, diaries and text messages Jabbari wrote out of jail.

“My worst enemy” exposes state interrogations, the director invites members of the large Iranian community in exile in Paris to interrogate him using the pressure methods they themselves experienced in detention.

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