Mohammad Rasoulof, filmmaker on the run at the Cannes Film Festival

He hasn’t lost any of his energy. Fully built, dark complexion, graying hair, we found Mohammad Rasoulof at the meeting place, Thursday May 23, in the middle of the Palais des Festivals, in Cannes, alone, anonymous, smiling beneath his drawn, intact features. “I didn’t want to go back to prisonhe summarizes. I went there. I was in solitary confinement for forty days in a room the size of this sofa. Then in barely larger cells. Not physical torture – they avoid it with people who have access to the media – but other things like not letting you go to the toilet for hours, which means that you no longer dare to eat, no longer drink… And then , I have known prisons where you are almost free to move around. I saw amazing things there. Thieves whose fingers had been cut off because that is the punishment incurred under Islamic law. They have a kind of little guillotine for that. Except that immediately afterwards they send the condemned to the hospital to have them transplanted again. Because, if Islam said that they must be cut, it did not say that they should not be glued back together. They are sent back to prison with their transplants. Some take, others don’t. They are all there with their bandages…”

Read the review Article reserved for our subscribers Cannes 2024: “The Seeds of the Wild Fig Tree”, at the forefront of the excitement of underground cinema in Iran

While Mohammad Rasoulof has just crossed the borders of Iran on foot, through the mountains, to escape an eight-year prison sentence, including five years for “collusion against national security”, we cannot help but to admire the resilience of the director who loves nothing more than unraveling the ambivalences of his human brothers. Friday May 24, the stowaway from the Festival presents in official competition Wild fig tree seeds, the story of an investigating judge faced with the weight of his decisions at a time of popular revolt. Film that the mullahs in Tehran are already denouncing.

As with his previous films, which highlighted social poverty (Life on the waterat the Directors’ Fortnight in 2005), repression, exile, corruption (Bye, 2011; Manuscripts do not burn, 2013; A man of integrity, 2017, all presented in the Un Certain Regard section), or the banality of evil, dear to Hannah Arendt (The Devil does not existGolden Bear in Berlin in 2020), the director this time once again circumvented the bans, and did everything “to be able to work without anything leaking out. We really took all the precautions. Once it was in post-production, I was at peace. The film was no longer in Iran. It was being worked on abroad, but throughout the filming I was really worried. »

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