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May 2001, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 6 May 2001 17:24:50 -0400
text/plain (98 lines)
brava!!!! . . . wonderfully well said . . .

i don't know if immigration officials treat those
they process humanely or not . . . my guess is
they probably treat them the way most bureaucrats
treat most burdens, which is to say not particularly
humanely but not particularly brutally either . . . maybe
it's true that the system [maybe even all systems] ought
to be more humane . . .  but certainly we should to
be able to agree that  credentials as a self-procalimed
important humanist film-maker do not, and ought not,
afford one any special protection before the law, at least
not in an egalitarian system


"Shari L. Rosenblum" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent by: Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
05/06/01 03:52 PM
Please respond to Film and TV Studies Discussion List

        To:     [log in to unmask]
        Subject:        Re: welcome to the US, Jafar Panahi!

I hate to sound like a cynic, but seriously.

Appreciate though I may the films of Jafar Panahi, I would not stoop
to call cinematic gifts a substitute for legal papers or legal

Every nation has the right to determine whom it will admit into its
and under what circumstances.   Visas are one of the ways in which each
nation (or each concerned nation) controls and accounts for its visitors.
Requiring a visa is not refusing entry -- it is a means of permitting it.

Even if Mr. Panahi's statements about United Airlines staff or festival
directors are true, surely he -- like any of us -- is fully aware that
neither airline personnel nor film festival organizers are experts in such
matters.  Any more than immigration officials should be expected to
film festival invitations or hold them significant as immigration

Now Mr. Panahi is a man self-professedly "obsessed with social issues." So
surely, despite his mock surprise and haughty indignation, he was aware
only of U.S. entry requirements, but also of the familiar  protest by
political activists against what they represent as the U.S. practice of
fingerprinting and photographing persons from nations listed for their
association with terrorism against the U.S.  Perhaps there are those among
who hold it unreasonable to request identification data of any visitor to
nation, even if that visitor comes from a nation at odds with our policy
and/or people, or (as Panahi proved himself to be) clearly antagonistic to
its laws and standards.  But is it really the right of the visitor to
entry on his terms?

Mr. Panahi, by his own admission, refused to comply with our laws and
regulations, and then protested being treated like a criminal.  But I've
news for Mr. Panahi and his supporters -- someone who has refused to
with our laws and regulations is, by definition, a criminal.

Perhaps not everyone would agree that he seems to have knowingly and
deliberately played the system to manipulate a behavior from the officers
then to provoke a certain response from among us against that behavior.
Perhaps not everyone would agree that there is an angle at which this
to be just so much drumming up of publicity for his film and its topic.

But me, I suspect that his "unconscious smile" looking down from the plane
had at very least a mission-accomplished edge, topped only by his
of it in the letter posted here.

Shari L. Rosenblum

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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite