Latvian movie on Soviet occupation censored in Iran

The Latvian full-length film Dawn (Latvian: Ausma) had several scenes censored for its screening at the Fajr International Film Festival in Iran, Latvia's National Film Center reported Wednesday.

Latvia's film center describes Dawn as a "grotesque about the Soviet system and a society distorted by it". 

It is suitable then, considering widespread censorship during Latvia's occupation by the USSR, that director Laila Pakalniņa was very surprised when representatives of the festival contacted her, asking permission to remove several episodes that would be considered harmful to the Iranian public. As films are controlled in Iran, Dawn would not have been screened should the director have refused.

The censored scenes include a breastfeeding episode, an uncovered knee, and a conversation - held in broad daylight and at that in 'traditional' Soviet attire with socks and shoes on - between a woman and her husband on their bed.  

After weighing the pros and cons, Pakalniņa agreed to cut the film short, noting the irony in the fact that, in order to reach an audience, a film about the fanaticism of a political regime has to pay its dues to the system in Islamic Iran.

The Fajr International Film Festival is the largest cinema festival in Iran. It has previously showcased films by Pakalniņa, and she was present to talk with the audience on Wednesday.

After a few days Dawn will be screened at the Go East film festival in Germany. 

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