Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the presentation of the Coach of Orà Jafar Panahi – Directors' Fortnight

Mr President of the jury,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Jafar Panahi «will be» in Cannes this year. He will be in our thoughts, he
will be in our minds, it will be in our hearts. There will be "will" also because it
sent 5 days ago the copy of his last work, This is not a
film - shot with the complicity of filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, in
semi-clandestine conditions. He attached a personal word that begins
thus: Our problems are our fortunes. Understanding this
promising paradox invites us not to lose hope and to continue
What can we add to these words of courage and hope?

When a creator is prevented from expressing himself, when an artist cannot
more to make known his works, it is my duty, it is the duty of the
French Minister of Culture and Communication, to make the
voice of freedom, the voice of those who do not abdicate, the voice of those who
Jafar Panahi has been arbitrarily convicted in his country. Jafar
this country where he wanted to continue working, this country in which his
popularity is considerable, this country he loves and which he writes
the pages of life of women and men.

Because the cinematographic image is universal, the rights of those
that make it live and those who invent it are also. Jafar Panahi is
today watched, imprisoned, humiliated, by the mere fact of having wanted
making films in one’s own country.

The director of Ballon Blanc, Sang et Or, both
award-winning director, right here in Cannes, who was awarded
festivals around the world, is today a symbol of the
Freedom and the spirit of resistance. Authoritarian measures that overwhelm it
have not been able to travel to Berlin this winter to present
his latest film, Hors Jeu. Under house arrest, he can only attend
the absurd consequences of an unjust judgment. Figure of the
Iranian «New Wave», heir to Abbias Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi
damaged the reefs of blindness and intolerance.

A little less than a year ago, at the Cannes Film Festival, I read the letter that he was
of his cell. Today, I intend to reaffirm
my personal support for Jafar Panahi, his family and the teams
who worked alongside him. I think of another young
director, Mohammad Rasoulof, also sentenced to six years in prison,
whose film Bé Omid é Didar (Goodbye) is, will be shown in the selection
“A Certain Look”. This double presence says enough how much the
how the Cannes Film Festival is a mirror of the world and a
window of hope.

Like a large part of the movie family, like a large part
of intellectuals, I consider that the treatment of which it is the object is a
unacceptable violation of freedom of thought and freedom of creation. It is
inconceivable that Jafar Panahi will spend the next years of his life
in the confinement and night of the world. It is just as inconceivable that
and we, who love and support him, are deprived of his
look, from that eye that listens to the vibrations of Iranian society
of today.

I am therefore particularly pleased that the Directors' Fortnight
to this brilliant absent, to this filmmaker of audacity, to this man of
Courage and honor the Golden Carriage that belongs to him.

May his gaze continue to be exercised, may he still be able to
marvel and make live one of the most remarkable cinemas of our
time. Jafar Panahi’s gaze is first of all his fight but it is
also and especially ours today.