And now for something completely different and extremely contemptible. Jafar Panahi -- one of the living luminaries of Iranian cinema, and winner of the Camera d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and The Golden Lion at the 2000 Venice Film Festival -- has been stripped of his freedom and his voice by Iran's governing regime. Panahi is a prominent supporter of the country's opposition green movement, and his films have been invariably critical of the Iranian government.
We reported in March that Panahi had been forcibly detained, accused of making a film that painted Iran's most recent election in an unfavorable light. A petition demanding the director's release was circulated immediately, and signed by names like Roger Ebert and Steven Spielberg. Panahi alleged that he was mistreated in prison (a claim we're not going to dispute), and in May he began a hunger strike before being released on $200,000 bail. Panahi returned to court in November, where he declared: "I am Iranian and I will remain in Iran." Yesterday The Guardian reported that Panahi was sentenced to 6 years in prison, and is prohibited from making films until 2030.