The wild popularity of a film which pokes fun at Iran’s mullas constitutes a precedent in the Islamic republic, where the authoritative clergy is revered.
The Lizard opened in Iranian movie theaters last week, after being edited and then approved by the state’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Several showings were reportedly sold out and extra screenings were scheduled in Tehran.
However, the film was banned in the city Mashad, where the film is set, by local culture authorities.
The Lizard, directed by Kamal Tabrizi, won the top prize at Tehran’s Fajr Film Festival in February, but four scenes were reportedly subsequently cut by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
The plot follows a thief who attempts escaping prison by posing as a mulla, and though he eventually finds God, according to reports, the dialogue is dotted with sexual innuendo, taboo in conservative Iran.