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Absent Iranian Wins Cannes Directing Prize

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof in 2009
Iranian film director Mohammad Rasoulof has won a prize for best director in the "Un Certain Regard" section at the Cannes film festival in France.

Rasoulof was awarded for "Be Omid e Didar" ("Goodbye"), a film shot semi-clandestinely in Iran about a lawyer who turns to extreme measures in order to get a visa to leave Iran.

Rasoulof, who is banned from traveling abroad, was not present at the festival but his wife received the prize on his behalf.

Rasoulof was sentenced in December to six years in jail and barred from making films for 20 years. Internationally acclaimed fellow Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi received the same sentence.

The two were recently released on bail pending an appeal but not allowed to travel.

Both filmmakers have smuggled films to France for competition in the festival.

Panahi has entered his documentary-style "In Film Nist" ("This Is Not A Film"), which is about his wait for a decision on his court appeal.

compiled from agency reports