Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is imploring everyone worldwide to unite “in solidarity” with protesters following the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
In a video message on Instagram, Farhadi said, “You must have heard recent news from Iran and seen images of progressive and courageous women leading protests for their human rights alongside men. They are looking for simple yet fundamental rights that the state has denied them for years. This society, especially these women, has traveled a harsh and painful path to this point, and now they have clearly reached a landmark.”
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets since last week’s death of the 22-year-old Amini, who was taken into custody in Tehran, allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly. At least 41 people have died in the protests, according to state television.
Farhadi continued: “I saw them closely these nights. Most of them are very young; Seventeen years old, twenty years old. I saw outrage and hope in their faces and in the way they marched in the streets. I deeply respect their struggle for freedom and the right to choose their own destiny despite all the brutality they are subjected to. I am proud of my country’s powerful women, and I sincerely hope that through their efforts, they reach their goals.
Through this video, I invite all artists, filmmakers, intellectuals, civil rights activists from all over the world and all countries, and everyone who believes in human dignity and freedom to stand in solidarity with the powerful and brave women and men of Iran by making videos, in writing or any other way.”
He concluded by saying, “This is a human responsibility, and it can further strengthen Iranian’s hope in achieving this beautiful and monumental goal they are seeking here, the country where I have no doubt women will be the groundbreakers of the most significant transformations.”
Farhadi, whose films focus on the human condition, received Best Foreign Language Film Oscars for 2011’s A Separation and The Salesman in 2016.
Several other prominent Iranian filmmakers also have penned an open letter to their friends and colleagues across the film industry, requesting their support in defending the rights of Iran’s people.