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May 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s latest film, Passé (The Past), his first film shot outside his native country, received a warm reception from the audience at the Cannes Film Festival today (Friday), where it is competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or award. His previous film, A Separation, about a couple preparing for divorce, won the best foreign language film Oscar in 2012 and the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear, but it was condemned over Iran’s state-run television network by writer Masoud Ferasati who said: “The image of our society that A Separation depicts is the dirty picture westerners are wishing for.” A planned ceremony to honor Farhadi following his Oscar win was abruptly canceled by authorities. His current film also deals with a couple whose marriage has failed, but it is a marriage between an Iranian man, played by Tahar Rahim, who has returned to France after a four-year absence, and his French wife, played by Bérénice Bejo (The Artist). At a news conference in Cannes following the screening of Passé, Farhadi carefully chose his words when he was asked about Iran’s restrictions on filmmakers. “There are two types of censorship: official censorship and self-censorship, which is much more dangerous,” he said. “When I leave my country, the restrictions no longer weigh me down, but I am still subject to a conditioning that’s beyond my control. I try to see that as an advantage rather than a hindrance and to respond in a creative way.” Only two days ago, Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance granted permission for Passé to be shown in Tehran.