News ID: 193078
Published: 0708 GMT May 19, 2017

Farhadi opens Cannes festival

Farhadi opens Cannes festival

Iranian Academy Award winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi launched the 70th Cannes Film Festival in France. He bagan the world cultural event with a speech at the opening ceremony.

"I wish you 12 days full of enthusiasm," Farhadi said while declaring the festival officially open alongside French-American actress Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Hollywood star Johnny Depp.

"Twelve days to discover films that make you think about the human condition today. Welcome to the 70th Cannes festival," he added.

The 70th Cannes Film Festival opened with a low-key ceremony led by Italian star Monica Bellucci. The Grand Lumière Theater then sat down for the gala première of Arnaud Desplechin's 'Ismael's Ghosts', the French director's eighth time at Cannes over 25 years.

Farhadi described the Cannes Film Festival, where five films from Iran are being screened in different sections, as a "place where cultures speak to one another".

Meanwhile, Cannes Film Festival CEO Pierre Lescure was positive about the appointment of the new French culture minister, Françoise Nyssen.

One of her first trips in her new job will be to the festival. She was already scheduled to receive an award in Cannes for the series of books on cinema which her publishing house, Actes Sud, has been working on for 25 years with the Institut Lumière in Lyon.

The prestigious film festival is celebrating its 70th anniversary while security at this year's Cannes is tighter than ever.

There are 19 films in competition for the coveted Palme d'Or, starring a number of international actors, including Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Pattinson, Will Smith and Jessica Chastain.

Iran's representative at Cannes 2016, 'The Salesman' was the only two-award-winner with Farhadi winning Best Screenplay award and Shahab Hosseini grabbing Best Actor award.

Farhadi has finally accepted his Academy statuette, more than two months after his 2016 film 'The Salesman' won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

EW has confirmed that Meredith Shea, an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences representative, traveled to the 2017 Cannes Film Festival to present Farhadi and producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy with the accolade for their work on the 2016 film. Farhadi was unable to attend the Oscars in February under US President Donald Trump's controversial executive order barring citizens of several majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.

Accepting the award on behalf of Farhadi was a pair of notable Iranian-American figures: Anousheh Ansari, who is credited as the first woman space tourist, and Firouz Naderi, who previously worked at NASA as a director of solar system exploration. Ansari read Farhadi's full statement: "I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans immigrants from entrance into the US. Dividing the world into the 'us' and 'our enemies' creates fear."

The Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is typically not bestowed to an individual, but rather to the country that submits the project for awards consideration; the film's director (in this case Farhadi) usually takes the honor during the telecast, the Iranian director did not collect his prize alongside the rest of the victors on stage at the Dolby Theater.

The 70th annual Cannes Film Festival is to continue until May 28, 2017.

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