In a bid to show solidarity with Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who will not be allowed to attend the Oscars in the United States this year because of Trump’s “Muslim ban”, a rebel show is being planned in London. The film is likely to be screened at the same time as the Oscars, which take place on February 26, reports The Guardian.
Actors and filmmakers such as Julie Christie, Kevin Macdonald, Kiera Knightley, and Terry Gilliam have sought permission from the Duke of Westminster to screen The Salesman at London’s Grosvenor Square. The group also includes Oscar winners and nominees like Mike Leigh, Glen Close, and Andrea Arnold.
The letter to the Duke reads:
“As an open expression of peaceful civic protest at this critical time, we wish to screen Mr Farhadi’s film in Grosvenor Square; directly opposite the United States Embassy building. We believe it is our duty as members of the London film making community, in a city renowned for its values of tolerance, compassion and multi-culturalism to make an important public expression of protest to the United States government that will resonate nationally and globally. We wish to hold an event in solidarity with Mr Farhadi himself, but crucially, with the many thousands of innocent people who will now be negatively impacted and harmed by a policy of outright discrimination such as this.”
The screening is intended as an act of protest against Trump’s ban on refugees and travellers. The order, which is widely being called the “Muslim ban,” prohibits citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for a period of 90 days. The order has barred Farhadi, who hails from Iran, from attending the ceremony. The Salesman has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
Farhadi originally planned to attend the Oscars to highlight “the unjust circumstances which have arisen for the immigrants and travellers of several countries to the United States”. He felt that the conditions attached to any potential entry visa were unacceptable.
In 2012, when Farhadi’s film A Separation won the Academy Award, Farhadi had said on stage, “I think they [Iranians] are a truly peace-loving people.”
Several Hollywood stars and celebrities have since condemned the new President’s ban. From Mahershala Ali’s powerful speech on immigration at the SAG Awards to Iranian actress and The Salesman star Taraneh Alidoosti’s decision to boycott the Oscars in protest against the order, the ban has triggered wide outrage in the film fraternity.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement saying it was “extremely troubling” that Farhadi and his crew could be banned because of “religion or country of origin”.
Feature Image: Variety