The Berlin film festival, which has a history of supporting Iran’s persecuted independent filmmakers, is highlighting the struggle for fundamental rights among its populace through a number of screenings, activities, and a red carpet protest.
Golshifteh Farahani, a French-Iranian actor who is serving alongside festival president Kristen Stewart on the jury for the top prizes, said during the festival’s opening ceremony on Thursday that cinema was a vital source of fire for the freedom struggle.
“In a country like Iran that is a dictatorship, art is not only an intellectual or philosophical thing, it’s essential, it’s like oxygen,” she said.
Farahani established herself in Iranian cinema before breaking out on the world stage in films like Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson,” in which she starred opposite Adam Driver.
She and Stewart joined Mariette Rissenbeek, the festival director, at the Saturday red-carpet protest for women’s rights in Iran. Rissenbeek told AFP that the Berlinale stood with Iranian directors who “weren’t allowed to travel to the festival.”