Asghar Farhadi takes Cannes prize

A Separation director is first non-European winner.

by Jennie Kermode

Asghar Farhadi, whose sensitive drama A Separation won eight major international awards, has today made history by becoming the first non-European to win the coveted EU Media funding prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Although he hails from Iran, Farhadi is keen to work in Europe and impressed the judges with his proposals.

The €60,000 prize will enable Farhadi to shoot a thriller in Paris with stars Marion Cotillard and Tahar Rahim. Alexandre Mallet-Guy from Memento Films will produce. “I am proud to give this award to Mr. Farhadi today for this film project which has a strong cultural identity and illustrates the openness of European culture,” said EU commissioner Androulla Vassiliou.

For Farhadi, who is experiencing dwindling support from the Iranian regime, the award may represent a pathway to greater creative freedom. He stressed, however, that he sees it as an opportunity to build bridges between cultures, celebrating diversity rather than giving in to the language of conflict and exclusion.

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