Thursday, February 17, 2011

Before the narrow, dark tunnel that is trying to complete a Ph.D., the breadth of my interests used to be more regularly reflected in what I wrote about here. Posts on film, theatre, and opera, weekly posts on science, on poetry and poets, the occasional recipe and wine recommendation, and periodic appreciations of other bloggers' posts, participation in weekly memes, and yearly reading challenges, talk about upcoming events in my fabulous city, the literary world, or the blogosphere. I have had to narrow the field a little of late and focus more single-mindedly on what I'm reading. But I am never one to wear blinders.

My dear friend and fellow blogger Sheila is a film appreciator and critic, an avid reader of history, particularly of the area encompasing Eastern Europe, Eurasia (the 'stans), and the Middle East (think the Ottoman Empire) , and a crack writer, is incensed by Iran's imprisonment of their great film directors, Jafar Panahi and Mohammed Rasoulof, and has decided to host an Iranian Film Blogathon next week. I, for one, am participating. Consider joining Sheila, myself, and the many others who will be viewing and writing on Iranian film (no experience necessary, see Sheila's comment), or stopping by the sites that have and reading about it.

On 20 December 2010 Panahi, after being prosecuted for “assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” was sentenced to six years in jail and subjected to a 20-year ban on making any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media, and leaving his country. Rasoulof received a similar sentence.

Hundreds of filmmakers, critics, writers, actors, producers, and several human rights organizations and government representatives have been vocal in their opposition to his imprisonment. Many individual gestures, such as Sheila's, this one at The Tarpeian Rock, and his inspiration at Audiovisual Salvage, are attempting to raise awareness. I love the chain-like succession of gestures that has evolved into this blogothon, like fire catching from a tinder. Pass it on!

Or go catch a film by Panahi or Rasoulof at the Asia Society's tribute running from February 25 - March 11 at:

Film Series: A Tribute to Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi

Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Pass it on.


Sheila O'Malley said...

Thank you, Ted, for spreading the word - and I can't wait to read what you write!

Sheila O'Malley said...

Oh, and to anyone reading this who would like to participate - just watch a film, and then leave the link in the comments section of the post Ted linked to. I will be sure to promote it. As I said, no expertise necessary. One girl, who doesn't even have a blog, and has never seen a film from Iran, wanted to participate - so she wrote up an essay on what it was like for her to see Panahi's Offside -a total first-time impression - and sent it to me an email - and it was so beautiful it moved me to tears. So I hope more people participate!

And thanks again, Ted!