CINEMA: BALLOON STORY

A SWEET, DISARMING FILM ABOUT KIDS--AND FROM IRAN, NO LESS

WHAT COULD BE POLITICALLY incendiary about a sweet little Iranian movie that tells the story of a small girl looking for some lost money? Not a thing. Yet Jafar Panahi's The White Balloon has become the victim of an international skirmish over the U.S.'s alleged efforts to destabilize Iran. That country's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has announced that The White Balloon, submitted as Iran's entry in the foreign-language category of the Oscars, was being withdrawn. In response, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it would not allow a film to be squeezed out because of politics....

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