Venice opens with “empty chair for Panahi”
Polish-born actress and model Katia Smutniak, the event’s hostess, in a cherry red dress, declared the fest open after striking a separate, but related, political note.
She pointed to an empty white seat on the stage, Venice’s reminder to the world, following similar initiatives in Berlin and Cannes, that Iranian helmer Jafar Panahi is still held under house arrest in his country..
Please watch Euronews video report on the event.
Jafar Panahi was condemned by an Islamic court to a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on directing caused by the content of his films about life in Iran.
This year’s event, which runs until September 8, will show a total of 52 films.