The title of “This Is Not a Film” is itself a bitter joke on the illogic of totalitarian thinking. The acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi has been banned by the state from all filmmaking activities for 20 years and, when we see him in this footage shot in 2011, he’s appealing a six-year prison sentence for “assembling and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security.” He is not allowed to make a film. Therefore, this is not a film. Read More »
Three actresses at different stages of their career. One from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, one popular star of today known throughout the country and a young girl longing to attend a drama conservatory.
In a Tehran hospital, a woman awaits anxiously for news about her grandchild – and she’s shattered when she learns that the baby is a girl. Outside the hospital are three young women – they’re anxious, fearful – and their attempts to leave the city are constantly thwarted. One of them, Nargess, tries unsuccessfully to make contact with her friend, Pari, who is recently out of prison and has been thrown out of her family home. Pregnant and desperate, Pari seeks help from Monir, a friend married to a Pakistani doctor.
In addition to these frightened, disenfranchised women we meet Nayereh, who is forced to abandon her little girl, and Mojgan, a prostitute. As the story spirals from one character to another, it eventually turns full circle. Read More »
A girl in traditional female clothing, with her arm in plaster, comes out of school one day and doesn’t find her mother meeting her. She decides to travel home herself though she doesn’t know her address and remembers the road only visually. Read More »
Jafar Panahi is banned from making movies by the Iranian government, he poses as a taxi driver and makes a movie about social challenges in Iran. (IMDb)
One can wonder how is it possible that the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was sentenced by the authoritarian regime of his country to 20 years without making cinema, still manages to direct clandestine masterpieces with a disarming simplicity, emotional truthfulness, social-political awareness, and delightfully humorous situations. Well, my theory is the following: if you really love what you do and have something to say, there’s nothing that can stop you. After his professional banishment, Panahi has directed critically acclaimed films that mix reality and fiction, thoroughly mirroring what he was experiencing at each of those well-defined time slots of his existence. Read More »
A murder and a suicide occur early one morning in a jewelry store. Behind this headline lies the story of a desperate man’s feelings of humiliation in a world of social injustice …
When his friend Ali shows him the contents of a lost purse, Hussein cannot imagine the large sum of money marked on a receipt for an expensive necklace. He knows that his pitiful salary will never be enough to afford such luxury. Hussein feels even lower on the social scale when a smooth-talking professional thief mistakes the two friends for petty crooks. Hussein receives yet another blow when he and Ali are denied entry to an uptown jewelry store because of their appearance.
Hussein’s job delivering pizzas allows him a full view of the contrast between rich and poor. He motorbikes every evening to neighborhoods he will never live in for a closer look at what goes on behind closed doors. The hypocrisy of the system is thrown in his face wherever he turns.
But Hussein will taste the luxurious life for one night before his deep feelings of humiliation push him over the edge. Read More »
A girl in traditional female clothing, and her arm in plaster, comes out of school one day and doesn’t find her mother meeting her… Read More »