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US Airs Banned Film 'Rhino Season' in Iran

Director Bahman Ghobadi is seen at the gala presentation of 'Rhino Season' at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 12, 2012.
VOA has aired a film banned by the Iranian government.

The award-winning film, Rhino Season, by Kurdish-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi, appeared on VOA's direct-to-home satellite stream late Friday in Iran, and can also be seen online.

Ghobadi says it is important for VOA to air the film in Iran because government censors in Tehran are preventing it from being seen there.

Rhino Season is based on the story of Iranian-Kurdish poet Sahel, who was imprisoned during the Iranian revolution of 1979. The film follows Sahel's quest to find his wife and children after years of imprisonment.

Filmmaker Ghobadi, who donated the broadcast rights to VOA, calls the film "a work of poetry...[that] shows the point of view of a Kurdish poet, whose family thinks he has died in prison." The movie is Ghobadi's first made outside of Iran since he fled the country in 2009.

Rhino Season won the 2012 Asia Pacific Screen Award, and the Prize of the Jury at the 2012 San Sebastian International Film Festival.

The film features Italian actress Monica Bellucci as Sahel's wife, and well-known Iranian actor Behrouz Vossoughi, who has been living in exile. Most of the movie was shot on location in Istanbul.