EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS (director/writer: Bahman Ghobadi; screenwriter: Roxana Saberi/Hossein Mortezaeiyan; cinematographer: Turaj Aslani; editor: Hayedeh Safiyari; music: Mahdyar Aghajani/Ash Koosha; cast: Negar Shaghaghi (Negar), Ashkan Koshanejad (Ashkan), Hamed Behdad (Nadar); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bahman Ghobadi; IFC Films; 2009-France-in Persian with English subtitles)|
a real life-threatening risk being in this pic."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Iranian Kurd filmmaker
Ghobadi ("Turtles Can
Fly"/"Half Moon"/"A Time for Drunken Horses") directs a guerrilla shot
semi-documentary that depicts how serious are the
in the modern-day Iranian
theocracy over issues of music. It seems any music
that's not religious
is banned in Iran. The story used is a fictional one
that follows two
teen underground indie rockers in Tehran trying to
recruit a band for a
gig in London. It was co-written by Ghobadi and his
Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist, who was
arrested and accused
of spying in 2009 and only released from prison after
premiered. The filmmaker asks the $64 question whether
it's better to
go exile or stay and fight the system from within.
Since the film was
and girlfriend made a
hasty exit from Iran
(which probably tells us what they think). Nevertheless, according to
there are some 2,000 illegal bands in Tehran.
Indie rockers Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad, known as Take It Easy
film's female and
male protagonists, have since left Iran. Negar and
are non-actors who play themselves. They hope to get
passports and visas to travel to London with their
band, and spend most
of the film with silver-tongued hustler Nadar (Hamed
to them by a recording studio
to get the
papers and recruit band members. Before leaving the
country they play
one last concert in Tehran. But the police raid the
concert and it
results in 400 hundred arrests.
There's sadness that
underground musicians can't be free to sing their
music in such a
repressive regime, and have to go underground
rehearsing--like a heavy
metal band in a cowshed. The tour of underground
Tehran ranges from
hearing folk songs in Farsi to electric music to
hip-hop, with no music
being political (which should tell you all you want to
know about the
The music is OK, the drama can be forgiven for being so flat because everyone here is not acting--there's a real life-threatening risk being in this pic, and that's reason enough for me to give these brave non-conformists, who still view music as being revolutionary, a tip of my cap for playing their music and making this pic.
REVIEWED ON 11/3/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ