Home Explainer Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof Flees Iran After Flogging Sentence And 8 Year Jail...

Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof Flees Iran After Flogging Sentence And 8 Year Jail Term

Mohammad Rasoulof, an award-winning filmmaker from Iran, has fled the country after he was sentenced to eight years in prison and a flogging punishment on national security charges. He was convicted for ‘collusion with intention of committing a crime against the country’s security.’

In 2017, when he walked the red carpet at Cannes and picked up the award in ‘Un Certain Regard’ category for his film ‘A Man of Integrity’, he had said, “I love Iran, but it’s like an alcoholic father to me, sometimes it hits me.” Years later, what this Iranian filmmaker said on the Cannes red carpet has come true.

He is currently in Europe at an undisclosed location.


He was under pressure from Iranian authorities to withdraw his latest film, The Seed of the Sacred Fig, which is scheduled to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. In a statement he released, Rasoulof wrote, “I had to choose between prison and leaving Iran. With a heavy heart, I chose exile. The Islamic Republic confiscated my passport in September 2017. Therefore, I had to leave Iran secretly.” He criticized the scope and intensity of repression by Iranian authorities and called for the world cinema community to stand by filmmakers facing censorship and defend freedom of speech.


Rasoulof’s passport was confiscated in 2017 and he had been banned from leaving Iran since then.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

He has done jail time before from July 2022 to February 2023 before he was released early due to amnesty given to thousands of prisoners following widespread protests.

Soon after his release, he was told there was a fresh case against him for his 2020 film There is No Evil, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

His films like Manuscripts Don’t Burn, A Man of Integrity, There is No Evil, are all critiques of living under a repressive regime.


Even as he was forced into exile, he posted a last video from the snowy mountains of Iran with this powerful message, “If you think you control the borders of Iran, you are dreaming. From today, I reside in cultural Iran, a boundless land built by millions of Iranians with an ancient history and culture in every corner of the world. And they eagerly await to bury you and your regime of darkness in the depths of history. Then, like a phoenix, a new life will begin from that soil.”

After his secret escape from Iran now, there is hope he may turn up this year at the Cannes Film Festival where his latest work is in contention for the Palme D’Or and his film premieres on May 24, 2024.