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Parcbench Interview: Cyrus Nowrasteh Part Two

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Posted on March 2 2010 11:00 am
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Chris Yogerst: I was also pleasantly surprised with Marno’s performance, I won’t soon forget it. You did a magnificent job with your entire cast and it shines through in this film. How has “Soraya” been received by Iranian and other Middle Eastern audiences?

Cyrus Nowrasteh: The film was banned in Iran prior to its release last Summer. Achmadinejad’s “cultural council” condemned it. Recently, however, we’ve learned that bootleg dvd copies are on the streets of Iran by the thousands. Reports have come out that people are eagerly watching it in their homes in defiance of the regime. Big Hollywood recently had a terrific piece on this.

I believe you are referring to the piece by Mark Tapson, which can be read here. I’ve read words such as “propaganda,” “exploitation” and “phony” to describe this film. Why do you think some critics condemn a film with such a powerful message that fights for women’s rights in Iran? With some of them it feels like they are trying to play left and right with this film when it’s really about right and wrong.

Overall we received very good reviews. There were a few detractors who cried “propaganda” or condemned the violence, but they were in the minority. As to their motives, who can say — sometimes we found that multiculturalism was more a sacred cow to these people than abuse of women in 3rd world countries. Even in the UN stoning is protected from debate because it comes under the heading of “religious practice” — that’s how ridiculously politically correct people can be. But one thing’s sure because I’ve seen it at too many screenings, when people come out of this movie there is no doubt in their mind what a brutal practice stoning is and why it needs to stop.

Cyrus announces his next project at the end, read more at Parcbench!

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