Hopi at Take One Film festival

On Wednesday 26th Sptember 2012 , Take One Action film festival showed the film. This is Not a Film, by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi in Edinburgh Filmhouse. Over 100 people attended the film show which was Followed by discussion with Yassamine Mather (Chair of Hands Off The People of Iran) and Film/Theatre director Jeremy Raison.

Jeremy Raison spoke passionately about his meeting with Panahi and tried to explain some of the complexities of the film, Panahi’s satirical look at his own house arrest, the frustration of facing a 6 years jail sentence, ban of twenty years from making films, directing films for his support for the protests of 2009 . The film was rated as the number one film of 2011 by Rotten Tomatoes (considered a reliable film review aggregator.

Raison explained the significance of some of the hidden messages in the film shot on Panahi’s iPhone and a cheap DV camera and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes.

Yassamine Mather responded to questions about repression in Iran and emphasised that political activists face much harsher sentences , including long prison sentences and execution however highlighting the plight of this famous director gives a glimpse of the intolerance of the Islamic regime vis a vis any dissent. She also spoke about the economic hardship facing most Iranians, not just because of the corruption and disastrous effects of neoliberal (Islamic ) economic policies of the regime but also crippling sanctions However she reminded the audience that bombing Iran will make the situation far worse , Iranians  do want regime change but they are weary of US/Israel/Eu plans for regime change form above , especially as they look at their immediate neighbours Iraq and Afghanistan , where regime change US style has made an already intolerable situation even worse.

Simon Beaston of Take one Action reminded the audience that Ken Loach , one ‘Take one Actions’ Patrons is a supporter of HOPI and reminded the audience to take one action following the film on the basis of what was discussed .

Arab Spring is the theme of this year’s Take One Action festival and the film ½ Revolution, Omar Shargawi and Karim El Hakim‘s was shown after Panahi’s film to a pcked audience. According to reviewers in US, 1/2 revolution is  “a visceral ersonal documentary focusing on 11 days of the 18-day revolution, captures the ground-level events with a gut-churning immediacy and veracity often missing from news reports, as well as amateur footage posted to the Internet”. In the absence of Omar Shargawi who had not been able to travel to Edinburgh, HOPI chair Yassamine Mather responded to questions about the Arab spring, She argued that most of the uprisings had economic as well as political reasons, that the West’s economic crisis is having a devastating effect in the third world. That the success of Islamic fundamentalism has two reasons : decades of severe repression by pro US regime’s against secular, democratic , socialist forces at a time when Islamist benefited from the relative freedom of using mosques, Islamic schools for political agitation. She mentioned vast sums of Saudi and Gulf money given to the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria as reasons for their recent electoral and political ‘success’ . The audience applauded her interpretation of these events and HOPI gained a number of new supporter at the end of this session

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