An Artist in Crisis

I had no idea that the filmmaker Jafar Panahi had been arrested and imprisoned.

But this report says that things are worse than that.

Taherah Saeedi, the wife of film director Jafar Panahi,who was arrested on 2 March 2010, has published a report about her husband’s condition in solitary confinement that has rendered him immobile and under emotional stress. She stated that in the past, her husband has twice experienced severe spasms in his chest for which he was taken to the emergency room. The attending physician diagnosed his condition to be psychological and said that if it continued he could suffer a heart attack.

IFC has further commentary on the situation here.

There’s a certain sickening inevitability to the news that Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been arrested, confined and in danger of a heart attack. He’d been flirting with danger for a long time — first with a series of films uniformly banned in Iran, then by wearing the long green scarf signifying solidarity with the protesters at festivals. By effectively becoming the international cinematic voice of the opposition, something like this seemed only a matter of time in coming.

But it’s still incredibly disturbing.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.


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