They are both on the run: the man with the dog he isn’t allowed to own because Islamic law deems it to be unclean, and the young woman who took part in an illicit party on the shores of the Caspian Sea. They barricade themselves into a secluded villa with curtained windows and eye each other suspiciously. Why has he shaved his head? How does she know he is being followed by the police? They are both now prisoners in a house without a view in the midst of a hostile environment. The voices of police can be heard in the distance, but so too can the calming sound of the sea. One time they look at the night sky full of stars before again withdrawing behind their protective walls.
Are we looking at outlaws, in all senses of the word? Or are the man and the young woman merely phantoms, figments of the imagination of a filmmaker who is no longer allowed to work? The director enters the scene and the curtains are pulled open. Reality reinstates itself, but fiction closes in on it again and again. An absurd situation: two characters from a screenplay, both searching for and observing their director. –Berlinale
Jafar Panahi (Persian: جعفر پناهی , born July 11, 1960 in Mianeh, Iran) is an Iranian filmmaker and is one of the most influential filmmakers in the Iranian New Wave movement. He has gained recognition from film theorists and critics worldwide and received numerous awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
Jafar Panahi was ten years old when he wrote his first book, which subsequently won the first prize in a literary competition. At the same age, he became familiar with film making. He shot films on 8mm film, acting in one and assisting in the making of another. Later, he took up photography. During his military service, Panahi served in the Iran–Iraq War (1980-90) and made a documentary about the war during this period.
After studying film directing at the College of Cinema and Television in Tehran, Panahi made several films for Iranian television and was the assistant director of Abbas Kiarostami’s… read more
Kambuzia Partovi (also spelt Kambozia Partovi, born 1955) is an Iranian filmmaker and scriptwriter. Partovi’s latest movie, Café Transit, was nominated for the Oscars at 2007 to represent Iranian cinema in the competition for the best foreign language films. He has also written screenplays for other directors, most notably The Circle by maestro Jafar Panahi. Partovi trained and supported many Iranian artists and film makers, most notably Bahman Ghobadi. —Wikipedia
FNC '13 Panahi's real life house arrest and ban from filmmaking have not stilted his artistic expression as evidenced here with his latest work. A scripted film begins but is shortly abandoned replaced by Panahi himself and the ghosts that haunt him both real and imagined. Underneath the obvious is satire, futility and anger.
Panahi's follow-up to This is Not a Film is more scripted, which means it's less fluid, and the games it plays with reality more explicit. But it's also much more melancholy—not a mischievous act of artistic creation triumphing over adversity, but a work left unfinished when the creator loses hope. So as someone who found This is Not a Film to be a revelation, it left me devastated. 4 out of 5 stars.
Our TIFF missives continue with thoughts on films by Catherine Breillat, Jafar Panahi, and Frederick Wiseman.
Lots of news, photos by Patrick Swirc, a trio of interviews featuring Abel Ferrara, Ernst Karel and Lewis Klahr & more.
The 63rd Berlinale announces their awards! Child’s Pose, David Gordon Green, Jafar Panahi, Denis Côté, and more…