Belgian directors have their films withdrawn from the Fajr film festival in Iran

The film directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are withdrawing their film ‘Rebel’ from the Fajr film festival in Iran. Their decision is intented as a protest against the suppression of protest by the regime in Tehran. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have also demanded that   their film ‘Tori et Lokita' be withdrawn from the festival. 

Writing on Instagram Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah and the Caviar production company wrote “The presence of our film at the festival would be akin to ignoring the struggles of oppressed people in Iran for their rights”.

The film ‘Rebel’ tells the story of the radicalisation of a 13-year-old boy from the age of 13 until he becomes a fighter for the terror group IS in Syria. The film had been included in the festival without the directors’ having been informed.

"We are officially withdrawing our film as this festival is being held at a time when government pressure on people and the artist community has reached a climax”, the directors wrote on Instagram.

Adil El Arbi en Bilall Fallah also expressed their support for the Iranian film director Jafar Panahi, who was arrested on 20 July 2022 and is still in Prison. On Thursday Mr Panahi announced that he was going on hunger strike.

“Dictatorial and murderous theocratic regime”

The Dardenne brothers have also demanded that their latest feature film 'Tori et Lokita' be withdrawn from the festival. They called the festival “A front for a dictatorial and murderous theocratic regime that we condemn”. 

'Tori et Lokita' had been programmed despite the many petitions against the brutal repression of protest in Iran.  

Since the death of a 22-year-old woman after her arrest by the morality police last September, there has been widespread protest in the country. 

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