Film

Rebellious Iranian filmmaker wins major prize at Cannes

The winner of the festival's Un Certain Regard competition has gone to Mohammad Rasoulof's "A Man of Integrity." Rasoulof was once sentenced to six years in prison over his dissident portrayals of Iranian life.

Frankreich Cannes - Jury und Gewinner des Preises Un Certain Regard (FDC/C. Bouillon)

Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof's bleak drama "A Man of Integrity" won the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes film festival on Saturday. Running parallel to the main competition for the coveted Palme d'Or, the secondary selection honors films that employ nontraditional and experimental forms of style and storytelling.

"A Man of Integrity," tells the story of Reza, who moves his family from Tehran to a small village to run a farm in northern Iran. Once there, they come into conflict with the mysterious "Company" that seems to control all aspects of local life.

The director was arrested in 2010 along with another acclaimed Persian filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, whose Tehran docudrama "Taxi" won the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.

Iranischer Regisseur Mohammad Rasoulof (Sandra Hoever)

Rasoulof's six-year sentence was later reduced to one year. None of his recent films have been shown in Iran

Rasoulof was detained ostensibly on filming without a permit, and sentenced to six years in prison. Ironically, this occurred while working on the film "Goodbye," which is about the pressure felt by an ordinary Iranian woman whose life cracks under the pressure of the restricted personal freedoms in her country. Rasoulof was handed 2011's Un Certain Regard best directing prize for the effort.

This year's jury was headed by actress Uma Thurman, and included 17 entries from around the world, including Taylor Sheridan's thriller Wind River. The film, which won Best Director on Saturday night, stars Elizabeth Olson and Jeremy Renner as an FBI agent and game tracker hunting the murder of a Native American girl on an isolated Indian reservation in Wyoming.

Stiff competition for the Palme d'Or

The festival closes on Sunday with the awarding of the prestigious Palme d'Or. While there was no clear favorite ahead of the ceremony, there has been a lot of international buzz around Sofia Coppola's "The Beguiled," - a thriller set during the American Civil War starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell.

German filmmaker Fatih Akin has also garnered praise for his "In the Fade," which starts Diane Kruger in her first role done completely in her native German. The drama was partially inspired by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) serial murders in early 2000s Germany, a series of neo-Nazi inspired crimes against immigrants that was originally blamed on the Turkish mafia.

Also competing for the Palme d'Or is the latest work by Austrian director Michael Haneke, one of very few filmmakers to win the prize twice. His latest "Happy End" features Isabelle Huppert as part of a stark look at the troubles of a normal bourgeoisie family in Calais, France, as the recent refugee crisis looms in the background.

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