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Cannes 2011: pot calls kettle black

Following the don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-in-the-ass departure of Lars von Trier from the Cannes festival last week, support for his right to claim “I’m a Nazi” has come from an unlikely source – the government of Iran.

In a letter to Cannes festival president, Gilles Jacob, the Iranians called the festival’s claim to defend freedom of speech meaningless. In part, this was a response to the festival’s selection of two films by Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohamed Rasoulof, both jailed by the Ahmadinejad regime. Iran earlier accused the festival of only selecting the films to draw attention to the “dissidents”.

However, the irony of a regime which jails filmmakers because they support the opposition calling the Cannes festival a bunch of hypocrites seemed lost in Tehran – just as it missed the irony of preventing Rasoulof from attending Cannes to accept his prize for Be Omid e Didar (Goodbye). The film tells the story of someone trying to get a visa to leave Iran.

For his part, von Trier has extended his original non-apology apology to acknowledge that his comments were “unintelligent, ambiguous and needlessly hurtful”.

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