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Iran bans film festival over poster of actress without hijab

The 13th edition of the ISFA Film Festival has been banned over a poster showing actress Susan Taslimi without a hijab

Iran has banned the 13th edition of the ISFA Film Festival, a decision which comes after a poster of an actress without a hijab began to surface.

As per state media, the ban follows after the Iranian Short Film Association, ISFA - a trade, non-profit and nongovernmental association and a subset of Iranian House of Cinema - released a poster for the upcoming short film festival showing Iranian actress Susan Taslimi in the 1982 film The Death of Yazdguerd.

The festival was scheduled to be held in the month of September.

"The culture minister has personally issued an order to ban the 13th edition of the ISFA Film Festival, after using a photo of a woman without a hijab on its poster in violation of the law," reported news agency IRNA.

The ISFA poster featuring Susan Taslimi Instagram

In Iran, wearing a hijab has been mandatory for women since 1983, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. However, women of Iran have been protesting against the compulsory hijab.

Since September 2022, Iran has been rocked by protests against the state imposition of hijab. These protests began after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman of Kurdish ethnicity, died in the custody of the Iranian morality police. She was taken into custody for allegedly breaching the dress code.

For months, protests raged across Iran, with women taking off their hijabs, burning them and cutting their hair publicly in defiance of the regime, and although the large protests have now died out and the regime has introduced fresh measures to check defiance, individual acts of resistance continue.

Iran’s morality police has continued its crackdown on women not following the strict dress code. Last week, prominent actress Afsaneh Bayegan, 61, was given a suspended two-year prison sentence for not wearing her hijab to a public event. Bayegan had also expressed support for the protests triggered by Amini’s death.

As per local reports, a Tehran Court also banned her from using social media and leaving the country for two years, as well as ordered the actress to make weekly visits to a psychological centre "to treat the mental disorder of having an anti-family personality."

Other well known performers have been speaking out at various international events. At the Cannes Film Festival in May, Iranian-American model Mahlagha Jaberi wore a dress with a noose-styled collar to bring attention to executions in Iran.

In a post on Instagram, Jaberi said: "We wanted to make a fashion statement to observe the glamour of Cannes, but more importantly, to bring media attention to the wrongful executions of Iranian people. Unfortunately, political statements are not allowed at the film festival and the security stopped me from showing the back of my dress, but the 'noose' meaning was well understood."

Posted on 24 Jul 2023 13:06 link