Iranian cinema has effectively undergone a "brain drain" due to the policies of the Islamic republic.
They say choose your enemies carefully, for you will end up most resembling them. The trap is particularly treacherous for artists living under political tyranny. One can now see the wisdom of why the leading Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has so carefully skirted politics, even in the direst circumstances, and thus safeguarded his cinema from falling victim to that overriding wisdom. One hundred years from now, the best of Kiarostami's cinema will still mesmerise, baffle, and reward, when many other politically potent filmmakers will scarce be remembered.
Kiarostami's longtime protege Jafar Panahi, however, has not heeded that wisdom, or the logic of his own mentor, and thus now seems like one of the most precious victims of the brutal theocracy he has valiantly opposed and to whose trap, alas, his cinema is falling head first.
Jafar Panahi's most recent film, Parde/Closed Curtain (2013) "has won the top prize for best screenplay at the 63rd Berlin film festival". Co-directed by Kamboziya Partovi, and in defiance of a 20-year ban on filmmaking, "the winner of the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Panahi has been held under house arrest since December 2010 for allegedly making antigovernment propaganda".
Needless to say, the custodians of the Islamic republic weren't very happy with the events in Berlin: An Iranian filmmaker that was banned from making any films went ahead and made a film that won a top prize at a major European film festival.
According to reports, "Iran has protested against the awarding of a Silver Bear to Jafar Panahi for his film Closed Curtain (Parde) at the 63rd Berlin film festival, the ISNA news agency reported."
What would become of a filmmaker when his work of art is so crowdedly fused with the politics of his time?