Mohammad Rasoulof

Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof won the Cannes Film Festival prize for best director in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival for his film Be Omid-e Didar (Goodbye).

The film depicts an Iranian lawyer and her journalist husband as they face mounting problems at their jobs and in everyday life.

Rasoulof was not in Cannes to receive the honour. He is still awaiting the final court decision on his appeal of his six-year prison term for alleged activities against national security and propaganda against the regime. Rasoulof’s wife accepted the prize on her husband’s behalf.

Mohammad Rasoulof was arrested in December of 2009 together with Jafar Panahi, another prominent Iranian filmmaker who has also been sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on filmmaking and traveling abroad.

The two filmmakers have been released on bail pending the appeals court’s decision. Rasoulof’s lawyer announced last week that the travel ban against his client has been lifted, but his film had already been screened.

Iranian media have previously suggested that the filmmakers’ arrest was linked to their alleged plans to make a film about the mass protests that rocked the country following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed victory in the 2009 presidential elections.