Less than 24 hours after we published our interview with Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi about the myriad ways in which his new film, The Salesman, encourages audiences to strengthen their sense of empathy, the filmmaker had reportedly been barred from entering the United States.
Confirmed: Iran’s Asghar Farhadi won’t be let into the US to attend Oscar’s. He’s nominated for best foreign language film…#MuslimBan
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) January 28, 2017
The Salesman was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards, but due to President Donald Trump’s new executive order – which halts the entry of all refugees into the United States for 120 days, indefinitely suspends the entry of all Syrian refugees, and denies citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen the ability to enter the country for 90 days – it seemed as though Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian citizen who was in America just a few months ago to promote his latest film, would not be allowed to attend.
Although the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and protesters across America have been opposing President Trump’s executive order, it now seems that Asghar Farhadi has given up on the idea of attending the Oscars, the awards ceremony where his film A Separation won the Best Foreign Language Film honor in 2012. Both A Separation and The Salesman are complex morality tales which seek to explore and nurture the audience’s capacity for empathy, and which defy the notion of moral absolutism.
In a lengthy statement to The New York Times, Asghar Farhadi explained that he had no intention of boycotting the Oscars. “However, it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip,“ he clarified.
Asghar Farhadi also described in that statement the parallels between the current political climate in the United States and in his native Iran, before concluding: “I believe that the similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences. I believe that the root cause of many of the hostilities among nations in the world today must be searched for in their reciprocal humiliation carried out in its past and no doubt the current humiliation of other nations are the seeds of tomorrow’s hostilities. To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity. I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”
Read Asghar Farhadi’s complete statement in The New York Times.
Top Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved, Rapid Reviews and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.