Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, whose latest feature There Is No Evil premieres in the Berlinale’s competition today, has issued a statement criticising his government for continuing to impose a travel ban upon him. “I am sorry that I will not be able to come to Berlin to watch the film alongside the audience; however, the right to choose between being present or absent at the festival is simply not mine. Imposing such restrictions very clearly exposes the intolerant and despotic nature of the Iranian government,” Rasoulof said. Kaveh Farnam, Farzad Pak, and Mani Tilgner, producers of There Is No Evil, added, “We are truly delighted and grateful that There Is No Evil has been selected and will premiere at the festival’s main competition. However, we must express our deepest regrets and loudest frustrations at the limitations faced by the creator of this outstanding work of artistry. We feel obligated to apologize to the attendees for Mohammad Rasoulof’s absence at the screening and subsequent press conferences at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.” Rasoulof has been serving a two-year ban from leaving his native Iran since 2019, none of his political-leaning films have ever screened in his home country.
Norwegian director Maria Sødahl’s Hope (Hap) has won this year’s Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. The film will now benefit from promotional support from Europa Cinemas and better exhibition thanks to a financial incentive for network cinemas to include it in their programme schedule. The film, starring Stellan Skarsgard and Andrea Bræin Hovig, chronicles how the relationship between artist-partners Tomas and Anja is put to the test after Anja gets a life-threatening diagnosis
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La Biennale, the ogranization behind the annual Venice Film Festival, is planning a weekly classic film event that will take place at Venice’s Cinema Rossin venue March 5 – May 29. The event, targeted at students, will screen twelve restored titles including Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and John Huston’s Fat City, subtitled in Italian, with each event featuring an introduction from a critic. Each film will be rated by attendees, with the winner taking the Best Biennale Classic audience award. Festival chiefs Paolo Baratta and Alberto Barbera said the new event was in recognition of the main festival’s growing Classics program. Organizers noted that dates may change, subject to the coronavirus outbreak.
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