Iran Blasts Cannes for Punishing Director Von Trier

His Nazi jokes are a form of free speech, says letter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2011 2:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Iran is suddenly all about free speech, criticizing the decision of the Cannes Film Festival to ban Nazi-joking director Lars von Trier. Iran's deputy culture minister wrote that Cannes had smirched its history and rendered its claims to defend free speech "a meaningless slogan." Cannes declared von Trier "persona non grata" last week after he joked to reporters that he could "sympathize" with Hitler. (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier.) Von Trier later apologized, but was not allowed to attend the awards ceremony last weekend, where Kirsten Dunst won best actress for her role in his Melancholia.

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Still on the Iran-free-speech front: This year's Cannes festival included films by two Iranian directors, Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, who have been jailed by the country's Islamic regime. Both have been sentenced to six years in jail and banned from filmmaking for 20 years on charges that include "making propaganda" against the ruling system. (Read more Cannes Film Festival stories.)

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