noted in this "Huffington Post" item
by Virginia M. Moncrieff, the Iranian authorities, after holding Panahi
prisoner for over six weeks, have finally disclosed their charge against him:
he's accused of making an "anti-government movie" in his home. His family
emphatically denies this accusation.
As reported earlier, Panahi has been held in
a tiny cell since March 1 and has been undergoing continuous
interrogations. His health has suffered
and he has apparently been treated for heart problems.
What exactly are the Iranians trying to
accomplish by this? An exiled Iranian film reviewer, who requested anonymity, is
quoted in the Huffington Post article explaining that "there's a long history
of interrogating the filmmakers in Iran. Sometimes they are warned
about activities, and in other cases they are coerced to make a movie that
advocates the agenda of the regime." He added that Panahi is "under emotional pressure to
sign what his interrogators dictate to him. He was treated respectfully they
say, but they have confined him to a very small cell where he can hardly
I'm reminded of Alec Guinness as Col. Nicholson in "The
Bridge on the River Kwai" standing firm for his principles while suffering similar mistreatment . Jafar Panahi is demonstrating the same kind of resolve.
He's made many films that inspire us with their humanity.
Now he does so with his courage in the face of this injustice.
By the way, if you think Hollywood should get more involved in
protesting this situation, you can contact the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences here. (Thanks to the "Why We Protest -- Iran" website).