Iran rejects Cannes film award as ‘biased, political’

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Tehran (AFP) – Iran on Monday dismissed as “biased and political” the award given last week at Cannes for a film about a serial killer who targeted sex workers in an Iranian Shia sanctuary city.

Iranian Zar Amir Ebrahimi won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday for her performance in the film “Holy Spider”, directed by Danish-Iranian Ali Abbassi.

Ebrahimi, who went into exile following a smear campaign over her love life, has won awards for her portrayal of a journalist trying to solve the serial murders of sex workers in the Iranian holy city of Mashhad.

Iran’s Cinema Organization, affiliated with the Culture Ministry, slammed the move, accusing the festival of “committing a biased and political act by praising a fake and disgusting film”.

The film presents “a distorted image of Iranian society and openly insults Shia beliefs”, the organization said in an official statement.

He said the film “follows the same path as Salman Rushdie in ‘The Satanic Verses'”, in reference to the Booker Prize-winning Indian-born British-American novelist.

In 1989, Iran’s former supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called Rushdie’s work “blasphemous” and issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling for the author’s murder.

“Holy Spider” is inspired by the true story of a working class man who killed sex workers in the early 2000s and became known as the “Spider Killer”.

The film, which was shot in Jordan, shows Iran’s second largest city with its web of spider-like streets leading to the shrine.

Her star Ebrahimi started her career in Iran, but was derailed when a sex tape leaked online in 2006, allegedly of her and her boyfriend.


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