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It's Not Stealing! Cannes Prize-Winning Film From Iran Available For Free Online


Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi (right) and actress Negar Shaghaghi enjoy themselves at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Award-winning Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi is making his latest movie, "No One Knows About Persian Cats," available online and is inviting Iranians to watch it for free and to tell others about it.

The movie opens a window onto the lives of the country's youth by following two young Iranians as they attempt to form an underground band. The film received the Special Jury Prize in the "Un Certain Regard" section of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Ghobadi explains the motivation for his unusual move by noting that he's not being given permission to screen his movies inside Iran. Ghobadi is calling on Iranians to support young musicians like those in the movie, who work under difficult conditions and with no support from the government.

Ghobadi says the future of Iran, especially in terms of its music, is in the hands of young musicians like those in his movie.

The link to the full version of Ghobadi's movie in Persian can be found here. (The movie is divided into four parts, which can be found a little ways down on the right side of the page.)

Iran recently announced that it will punish actors and directors who make unauthorized movies.

"I announce that we will take action against artists who collaborate in producing unlicensed films," Alireza Sajadpour of the Culture Ministry was quoted as saying in the "Tehran Times."

Filmmakers in Iran routinely face censorship, which has reportedly gotten worse under hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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