NewsSpecial WireIran’s censors ban famous director’s script

Iran’s censors ban famous director’s script

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Aug. 22 – Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has banned the script of a leading film and theatre director less than a month after he was forced to pull one of the most successful plays in Iran in recent times off the stage because of its “seditious” message.
Confirming the ban on his screenplay entitled “Fish” in an interview with a local news agency, director Bahram Beizaii said, “As things stand, I just don’t know what to do”. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 22 – Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has banned the script of a leading film and theatre director less than a month after he was forced to pull one of the most successful plays in Iran in recent times off the stage because of its “seditious” message.

Confirming the ban on his screenplay entitled “Fish” in an interview with a local news agency, director Bahram Beizaii said, “As things stand, I just don’t know what to do”.

Asked about the reasons given by the authorities for the ban, Beizaii said, “They don’t usually give a reason”.

“Those who think that they can silence me by preventing my work in cinema or theatres have learnt that they can’t since now I am writing and they have not found a way to stop my writing”, the widely-respected director said.

“A Play Portraying the Passions of Master Navid Makan and His Wife Engineer Rokhshid Farzin”, written and directed by Beizaii, debuted in Tehran’s City Theatre on July 3 and was played to a packed house in 24 performances, before Iran’s cultural censors pulled the plug on it, almost a month ahead of its scheduled termination.

Beizaii, an icon of Iranian screen and stage, produced the play after a long hiatus. The production soon became a crowd-puller in a city suffering from chronic cultural starvation. Tickets quickly sold out for all performances in advance.

The play is a masterful portrayal of the murder of dozens of dissidents and intellectuals by Iran’s secret police in the 1990s and the cultural terror that the murders installed in Iranian society.

Navid Makan, a university lecturer purged by the Islamic authorities, and his wife Rokhshid, an architect, live in constant terror in their house in Tehran. The intellectual Makan, a writer and poet, has recurring nightmares of three faceless men in grey raincoats following him everywhere. He goes to the police to complain, but they dismiss his fears as mere illusion. Makan goes to a psychiatrist to seek help.

Makan’s spouse, played by Beizaii’s wife Mojdeh Shamsaii, is an architect who is renovating historic buildings. She, too, has the same nightmares as her husband. The couple is instantly recognisable by the Iranian audience as Darioush Forouhar and Parvaneh Eskandari, who were brutally murdered in their home in Tehran in 1997. The authorities later blamed the gruesome killings on “rogue officials” of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the secret police.

Beizaii, 68, is regarded as a master of contemporary Iranian dramatic arts. His plays and films, always carrying a strong political message, have aroused much anger in the ruling circles of Iran’s theocracy.

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