Panahi received the award for best screenplay at the weekend for his film Parde (Closed Curtain), made with fellow dissident and regular collaborator Kambuzia Partovi. It is the second movie Panahi has made (following 2011’s This Is Not a Film) since being banned from making films for 20 years and sentenced to six years in prison in December 2010.
“We have protested to the Berlin film festival organisers,” said Iranian cinema chief and deputy culture minister Javad Shamaqdari, according to the ISNA news agency. “We believe that the Berlin fest organisers should correct their behaviour. Everyone knows that making a film and sending it outside the country needs permission.”
He added: “Making these films is illegal, but so far the Islamic republic has shown patience towards such illegal acts.”
Parde tells the tale of a group of people trapped in a house by a lake, a predicament critics have suggested symbolises the repression suffered in Iran by Panahi and other artists. Both its directors also appear in front of the camera. Accepting the award on behalf of himself and Panahi, Partovi said: “It is impossible to stop a thinker and a poet. Their thoughts bear fruit everywhere.”
The Hollywood Reporter called Parde “a more experimental and distanced diary in exile than This Is Not a Film”, and a “moody, intellectually complex film that requires good will and brainwork on the part of the viewer to penetrate and enjoy”. It topped a critics poll for the festival published by Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.