Iranian Cinema 2011: Panahi (This Is Not a film) and Rasoulof (Good Bye)

Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof will have new movies, “In Film Nist” (This is not a Film) and “Be Omid é Didar” (Good Bye), respectively, playing in the Official Selection at next week’s Cannes Film Festival.

The two helmers, who are appealing pending sentences of six years of imprisonment in Iran and a 20-year employment ban, are currently forbbiden to travel abroad. Their films were “made in semi-clandestine conditions,” said the festival said Saturday.

“The reality of being alive and the dream of keeping cinema alive motivated us to go through the existing limitations in Iranian cinema,” Jafar Panahi said in a letter sent to the Festival on May 5. ” Understanding this promising paradox helped us not to lose hope, and to be able to go on since we believe wherever in the world that we live, we are going to face problems, big or small. But it is our duty not to be defeated and to find solutions”.

“Good Bye” will play in Un Certain Regard on May 13, while “This Is Not a Film,” is set to unspool as a Special Screening on May 20.

“Good Bye” turns on a young lawyer in Tehran who desperately searches for a visa to leave the country.

Pic toplines Leyla Zareh, Fereshteh Sadreorafai, Shahab Hoseini and Roya Teymorian.

Meanwhile, “This is not a Film,” helmed by Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmas, depicts Panahi waiting for the verdict of his court appeal, while giving a glimpse of the condition of Iranian cinema.

“Mohammad Rasoulof’s film and the conditions under which it was made, Jafar Panahi’s ‘diary’ of the days of his life as an artist not allowed to work, are by their very existence an act of resistance to the legal action which affects them. That they send them to Cannes, at the same time, the same year, when they face the same fate, is an act of courage along with an incredible artistic message,” declared fest prexy Gilles Jacob and general delegate Thierry Fremaux.

“Cannes is the international institution which protects them. Film professionals THE world over will gather on the Croisette and unite, we are sure, in a sort of self-evident fellowship.”

At Cannes, the Film Directors Guild (Societe des Realisateurs de Films) will honor Panahi with a Carosse d’Or and screen his 2005 film “Offside” on May 12 at the Croisette theater, followed by a roundtable.