Asghar Farhadi welcomed home, but not by the state.

Iran officially shuns director of Oscar winning A Separation

by Jennie Kermode

Winning an Oscar is the highlight of many a director's career, but rarely is it an event of national proportions. Asghar Farhadi, director of A Separation, was welcomed by thousands of fans when he arrived home in Tehran last weekend. Having won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, along with almost every other foreign language film award in the English-speaking world, he was treated as a national hero - but not by the nation itself.

An official ceremony to celebrate Farhadi's achievement was cancelled today when government officials stepped in. This marks the latest in a series of worrying developments for the director, who has been accused of criticising traditional Iranian values. In the context of several Iranian actors and directors having recently been jailed, it illustrates the scale of Iran's discomfort with its growing artistic reputation. Other creative artists working in Iran have expressed their support for Farhadi, whose Oscar victory is now to become the subject of a play.

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