Magazine article Screen International

Banned' Mohsen Makhmalbaf Film to Open Venice Classics

Magazine article Screen International

Banned' Mohsen Makhmalbaf Film to Open Venice Classics

Article excerpt

Mohsen Makhmalbaf's The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood, a film that was cut and banned by Iranian censors in 1990, has been resurrected and will open the Venice Classics strand of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (Aug 31-Sept 10) on Sept 1.

Makhmalbaf, perhaps best known for films such as Palme d'Or nominated Kandahar (2001) and The President (2014), made the feature in Iran in 1990 and it was shown just once at the Fajr Film Festival.

At the time, the Iranian censorship committee decreed that the film betrayed the spirit of the Iranian revolution and cut 37 minutes out of the original negative.

Following its public screening, even the cut version was banned and all public screenings were prohibited. Furthermore, no copies of the film were allowed to be made.

Earlier this year, some parts of the original negative were stolen from the archives of the Iranian censorship committee and the copy has been restored by Makhmalbaf himself. It is the cut version - 63 minutes instead of the original 100 - with the missing parts likely lost forever.

Makhmalbaf, who was previously at Venice in 2014 with The President and won awards for his Golden Lion-nominated film Sokout in 1998, recalled seeing his film for the first time in 26 years. …

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