(Tehran) A court in Tehran sentenced the famous director Saeed Roustaee to six months in prison for the screening of his film Leila and her brothers at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022, an Iranian media announced on Tuesday.

A feature film, Leïla et ses frères paints the portrait of a poor family on the verge of implosion, in an Iran plunged into a deep economic crisis. It has been banned in Iran since its release last year, for allegedly “breaking the rules by participating without permission […] in Cannes and then Munich”.

“The Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Saeed Roustaee and Javad Norouzbeigui, the director and producer of the film Leila and Her Brothers to six months in prison,” the reformist daily Etemad reported on its website.

Roustaee and Nowruzbeigui were found guilty of “contributing to opposition propaganda against the Islamic system” in Iran.

According to Etemad, however, the court ruled that the two filmmakers would only serve one-twentieth of the sentence, or around nine days, while the rest “will be suspended for five years”.

“During the suspension period, the defendants are required to refrain from activities related to the crime committed and not to communicate with persons active in the field of cinema,” Etemad added.

The verdict can be appealed within “twenty days of notification”, according to the newspaper.

Saeed Roustaee, 34, is best known for directing The Law of Tehran in 2021, a detective film about the drug business and its repression by the Iranian state.

For his film Leïla et ses frères Mr. Soutaee had received the jury prize from the International Federation of Cinematographic Press in May 2022.