Director: Jafar Panahi Run Time: 106 min. Release Year: 2022 Language: Persian (Farsi)
Starring: Bakhtiyar Panjeei, Jafar Panahi, Mina Khosravani, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobaser
One of the world’s great cinematic artists, Jafar Panahi has been carefully crafting self-reflexive works about artistic, personal, and political freedom for the past three decades, despite his oppression at the hands of the Iranian government. Now, as the international film community vehemently denounces his summer 2022 arrest and continued imprisonment for his vocal support of a fellow artist’s independence, Panahi has gifted us all with a new virtuosic sleight-of-hand. In NO BEARS, as in many of his recent titles, Panahi plays a fictionalized version of himself, in this case relocated to a rural border town to remotely direct a new film in nearby Turkey – the story of which comes to sharply mirror disturbing events that begin to occur around him. As he struggles to complete his film, Panahi finds himself thrust in the middle of a local scandal, confronting the opposing pulls of tradition and progress, city and country, belief and evidence, and the universal desire to reject oppression.
Jafar Panâhi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly associated with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved international recognition with his feature film debut, The White Balloon (1995). The film won the Caméra d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, the first major award an Iranian film won at Cannes. After several years of conflict with the Iranian government over the content of his films (including several short-term arrests), Panahi was arrested in March 2010 along with his wife, daughter, and 15 friends, and later charged with propaganda against the Iranian government. Despite support from filmmakers, film organizations, and human rights organizations around the world, in December 2010 Panahi was sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving interviews with Iranian or foreign media, or leaving the country except for medical treatment or making the Hajj pilgrimage
“Panahi has made, paradoxically, a great movie about a medium that often falls short of greatness. You long to see him free, not least so he can make another.” ~ Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“A testament to the power of film to challenge a culture of blind obedience, and also to Panahi’s efforts, as a dissident filmmaker, to build a cinema of defiance against the propagandist film apparatus of the state.” ~ Jamsheed Akrami, Film Comment Magazine
World Cinema, Drama