I just saw a post about another blogathon - this one, inspired by Jafar Panahi's imprisonment, and a letter written to the Berlin Film Festival - is devoted to Iranian Cinema, and is scheduled for the week of February 21-27. I am very pleased to see this - it seems to me that Iranian cinema has been somewhat neglected in the last decade - in the late 90s, when I was particularly movie mad, Iranian films seemed to be at the center of the world's art cinema. New Kiarostami or Makhmalbaf films were events - though often events one could only read about for a year.... In the 2000s - I'm not sure - but a lot of that excitement seemed to be lost - probably not coincidentally, as Iran's politics took a retrograde turn, culminating in the disaster of the last election, which has led directly to Panahi's incarceration (for example.) Iranian films are (or seem) less talked about now - this blogathon will be a very welcome reminder, I think, of what they achieved. While they seem less talked about in the 00s, I don't know if they have become any less accomplished - not least because of the work of Panahi himself, whose films this decade have been, as far as I am concerned, almost as crucial as those of Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf in the 90s.
I'm under no illusions about the possible effects a bunch of film bloggers talking about Panahi and Iranian films might have on the Iranian government - but it can serve to remind us of what that government is trying to destroy.