London: Actress Juliette Binoche could not hold her tears back when asked about imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi during a press conference at Cannes.
The Academy Award winning French beauty welled up while speaking about Panahi, who is thought to be on a hunger strike in prison, reported Daily Mail online.
Panahi, whose films examine social issues in the Islamic Republic, was a supporter of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi in last year`s disputed election that saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad retain power.
Panahi won the Camera d`Or prize at Cannes for his 1995 movie `White Balloon` was due to sit on this year`s film jury.
But on March 1, Panahi and his family were held by Iranian security guards at his home, and since then Panahi has been in prison.
Officials have confirmed the arrest but said it was not politically motivated, yet reports have said he was making an anti-government film, which Panahi`s son has denied.
One reporter asked about speculation Panahi was on a hunger strike, causing Binoche to start crying.
Beside her, Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami said that his government`s imprisonment of Panahi was "intolerable" and that film-makers and art in general are
under attack in his home country.
"Jafar Panahi was inclined to make his film under clandestine, illegal circumstances, but that`s not his responsibility alone. The responsibility is that of the authorities who prevent him from carrying out his profession.
"So when a filmmaker, an artist, is imprisoned, it is art as a whole which is attacked, and it is against this that we should react," said Kiarostami.
Binoche stars in Kiarostami`s new film `Copie Conforme` (Certified Copy) which premiered at this year`s festival.