Iran Judiciary Lifts Ban on Honor Killing Movie ‘Parental House’

By Azadeh Karimi


On November 13, the Tehran prosecutor’s office lifted a ban on “The Parental House,” a 2012 feature-length drama written, directed and produced by the veteran Iranian filmmaker Kiyanoush Ayyari, according to Mohammad Mehdi Tabatabaei-Nejad, the deputy head of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance’s Organization of Cinema and Audiovisual Affairs.

The film tells the story of a man who murders his daughter in a so-called act of honor killing with the full knowledge of his son and wife in 1929. The terrible secret plagues the family through several generations.

“We received a letter from the Tehran prosecutor’s office informing us it had lifted the ban on the film,” Tabatabaei-Nejad was quoted by the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) as saying earlier this month. “The esteemed Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance [Abbas Salehi] pursued the matter immediately after a new ban had been placed on the film. He discussed the issue with the esteemed head of the Judiciary [Ebrahim Raisi]. We are also grateful to Mr. Kiyanoush Ayyari for his cooperation, which helped the film’s release.”

Praising Mr. Raisi for facilitating the release of the film, Tabatabaei-Nejad said: “His wisdom and the cooperation of the officials at the Judiciary undoubtedly helped the country’s film community.”

“The film is released with the 15+ rating, which means it is suitable for people 15 years and older,” Tabatabaei-Nejad added. “Audiences can buy their tickets online soon.”

Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance initially refused to issue a permit to Mr. Ayyari to release and distribute “The Parental House” in 2014, citing as its reason a scene in the film which depicted violence against a woman.

The Judiciary, however, lifted the ban in early October of this year only to re-impose it a few days later. It ultimately issued a new permit for its release and distribution on November 13.

Some 200 people in the Iranian film industry released a statement after the Judiciary banned “The Parental House” in late October, condemning systematic censorship, harassment of artists, and persistent interference in movie production by the Judiciary and security forces.

The letter might have played a significant role in persuading the Judiciary to facilitate the film’s release.

Although “The Paternal House” was not previously released in Iran, it was screened in the Horizon section of the Venice Film Festival in 2012 and at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival in Australia in 2015.

The cast of “The Parental House” includes Iranian actors Mehdi Hashemi, Nazanin Farahani, Mehran Rajabi, Mina Sadati, and Shahab Hosseini.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]