Thailand pulls Iranian cartoon from film festival

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand has caved in to pressure from Iran and withdrawn the animated movie “Persepolis”, about a girl growing up and feeling repressed under Islamic rule, from next month’s Bangkok International Film Festival.

“I was invited by the Iranian embassy to discuss the matter and we both came to mutual agreement that it would be beneficial to both countries if the film was not shown,” festival director Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya said on Wednesday.

“It’s a good film, but there are other considerations.”

The film, based on the popular French comic books of Iranian director and writer Marjane Satrapi, drew complaints from the government-affiliated Iran Farabi Foundation when it was screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France.

In a letter published by several news organizations, the foundation said the film “presented an unrealistic face of the achievements and results of the glorious Islamic Revolution in some of its parts”.

The film follows Satrapi as a little girl watching the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah. She and her family believe that with the Shah gone, state repression will end but the film shows that it only worsens.

Iran’s rulers are criticized in “Persepolis” but so are Western democracies for backing the Shah and supplying his government with weapons.

The Bangkok film festival, which runs from 19-29 July, is organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, a government agency.

Officials at the Iranian embassy in Bangkok were not immediately available for comment.