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Three Faces By Jafar Panahi Defies Barriers In Cannes

While cinema has always been intended to communicate a message or a global idea, Iranian cinema takes this noble mission to another level. Not only because it tells genuine and authentic stories, but because of the governmental restrictions that make movies bloom under all forms of pressures.

Three Faces (original title: Se Rokh) is directed by renowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, and was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2018. It won the award for Best Screenplay.

Through three generations of actresses, 3 Faces points out how actresses have been regarded with a certain disrespect, perceived as “easy” women, both before and after the Islamic Revolution. One of the goals of the director Jafar Panahi, is to emphasize how much they were, and still are true artists.

The film not only discusses old social and cultural dilemmas but most recent ones, including the use of social networks. For 3 Faces starts with a young wannabe actress who contacts a famous star through a video as she films herself (falsely) committing suicide.

Panahi, who is officially forbidden in his own country, and was not allowed to attend his movie premiere, receives many messages from young Iranian people who want to work in the industry. A newspaper article about a young girl who had committed suicide because she had been banned from making movies inspired the story of 3 Faces

For us, it was quite refreshing to find the full list of credits at the end of the film. Knowing that in his previous film, Taxi Tehran none of the names of the collaborators appeared out of fear. Another interesting political phenomenon had occurred just before Cannes, when Iranian film professionals mobilized in favor of Jafar Panahi and wrote to the Iranian president asking him to allow Panahi to travel to Cannes. Will Iranian cinema be legalized? Only time will tell.

Article by G.N.