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Iranian Filmmakers Protest Dariush Mehrjui Oscar In Memoriam Snub

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The Impartial Iranian Filmmakers Affiliation (IIFMA) has written to AMPAS to protest the omission of murdered director Dariush Mehrjui from the In Memoriam section of the Academy Award on Sunday evening.

As per Oscar custom, the Academy paid tribute to a choose group of 51 movie and leisure figures who had died over the earlier yr, together with actor Matthew Perry, director William Friedkin, actor-performer Jane Birkin and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto in a brief In Memoriam section.

Mehrjui was named as a substitute on the Academy’s In Memoriam web page on its web site, alongside 279 lately deceased figures associated to the movie world, together with the 51 folks feted on the ceremony.

The director was stabbed to dying alongside his screenwriter spouse Vahideh Moahmmadifar of their residence outdoors Tehran final October.

The unsolved killing got here simply months after he posted a web-based video blasting the Iranian authorities’s suppression of the movie trade, elevating suspicions that his homicide could possibly be a state-sponsored crime.

IIFMA, which was created in 2023 within the wake of Iran’s Girl Life Freedom protests to symbolize filmmakers not affiliated with the oppressive Islamic Republic authorities, stated the Academy’s In Memoriam web site point out for Mehrjui was not sufficient.

“The exclusion of Dariush Mehrjui out of your In Memoriam section, a person who made such vital contributions to world cinema and fought for inventive freedom, is deeply disheartening,” wrote the physique.

IIFMA famous Mehrjui’s position as one in every of founders of the Iranian New Wave in Seventies, suggesting he had helped put Iranian cinema on the worldwide map and paved the best way for the likes of Abbas Kiarostami and Asghar Farhadi.

It additionally recalled that Mehrjui’s The Cycle (Dayerey Mina) was the primary Iranian movie to be formally submitted to the Oscars for the 1977-78 fiftieth version, after profitable the FIPRESCI prize at Berlin Movie Competition and taking part in quite a few different festivals together with Chicago.

Different milestone works included The Cow (1969), which gained prizes in Venice and Berlin; The Postman (1972), The Girl (1992) and Sara (1993)

“Dariush Mehrjui was a outstanding determine, a maestro whose works didn’t merely entertain however enlightened and challenged us, pushing the boundaries of thought and notion. He was a rebellious artist who used the medium of cinema to spotlight the social points that usually remained unseen or intentionally ignored,” wrote IIFMA.

“Mehrjui’s brave stand towards oppression and censorship for a number of many years was an act of outstanding bravery. His protest video, which was launched lower than six months earlier than his brutal homicide, was a name for inventive freedom and a testomony to his unwavering dedication to the trigger. It’s past hypothesis to say he paid the final word worth for his refusal to be silenced; his life was minimize brief in a tragic and surprising act of violence simply 5 months in the past.”

IIFMA known as on the Academy to make a “extra becoming tribute” to Mehrjui’s life, work, legacy and homicide on its web site, social media and different affiliated media shops.

“Mehrjui’s reminiscence and contribution to the world of cinema shouldn’t be forgotten however celebrated and remembered for generations to return,” it wrote. “We imagine that his sacrifice, his life, and his work deserve recognition on the worldwide stage, such because the Academy Awards.”

The letter was spearheaded by California-based Iranian movie critic and cultural occasions organizer Mahshid Zamani Bozorgnia.

She has been concerned in makes an attempt to probe the circumstances round Mehrjui’s dying as a advisor on BBC World Service producer Hassan Solhjou’s upcoming documentary Sundown Somberness.

Solhjou’s movie delves into Mehrjui’s life, his persona as rebellious artist who confronted censorship below each the Shah’s regime and the Islamic Republic, and his latest help of the Girl Life Freedom motion.

IIFMA screened the work-in-progress documentary as a market screening on the Berlin Movie Competition in February as approach of a tribute to Mehrjui.

Deadline has contacted the Academy for a response.

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