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Banned Iranian Film Wins Berlinale's Golden Bear For Best Film

Iranian director Jafar Panahi (right) in a still from his film Taxi

A new movie by dissident Iranian director Jafar Panahi won on February 14 the Golden Bear prize for best film at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Panahi appears in the film Taxi as a Tehran cab driver, swapping stories with the residents of his city.

The jury president, U.S. director Darren Aronofsky, said described the movie as “a love letter to cinema.” “His film is filled with love for his art, his community, his country and his audience," he said.

In 2010, Panahi received a six-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban on directing movies, writing screenplays, or giving any interviews, and leaving the country.

He is not behind bars but could be imprisoned at any time at the discretion of the authorities.

Panahi has won numerous awards for his films. He was also awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov prize for Freedom of Thought in 2012.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa