Jafar Panahi is one of the world’s greatest filmmakers and arguably one of the bravest. He appeared in dramas from the mid 90’s to his early 2000’s such as; The Circle When crimson gold, He took bold aim at class and gender divisions in contemporary Iranian society.
In 2010, authorities charged Panahi with anti-government propaganda, banned him from leaving the country, and sentenced him to a 20-year film ban. But Panahi proved resourceful enough to ignore that ban. He has since filmed five features, many of them in secret.
Because of these limitations, his films became increasingly inward-looking, more personal and ruminating. He often plays a good-natured but bemused director named Jafar Panahi, reflecting on his difficult situation and starring in them himself.
The situation has worsened since last summer when Panahi was arrested and began serving a six-year prison sentence.and his latest movie no bearswas completed shortly before his arrest and could be his final film dispatch for a while.
It’s a great movie — a complex, layered drama that’s somehow funny, angry, playful and hopeless. and focused on religious fundamentalism.
But Panahi also makes a strong and very pessimistic statement about the nature of the film itself. Movies may have magical powers, but here he reminds us.
Mostly no bears It unfolds in a remote Iranian village where Panahi, or a version of Panahi, came to stay for several days. He directs a film that is being shot right across the Turkish border, but since he can’t leave Iran, everything has to be done remotely.
One day he is exploring a village and taking random pictures. After some time, some villagers approach him and ask to see his picture. They suspect it contains incriminating evidence of a love affair between a young woman and a young man who was not her fiancée.
Panahi denies having taken such a picture, and it is ambiguous as to whether he really did. A kind of tense and chilling comedy ensues as the villagers’ polite smiles and lewd manners melt away to reveal their underlying animosity.
At the same time, the real Panahi does not treat the fictional Panahi as some sort of innocent being. Although he may be sympathetic, the character is somewhat ignorant, qualified in his interactions with others, and prone to getting bogged down in self-made problems. It’s a sort of documentary-fiction hybrid about a Turkish couple who use fake passports to escape local turmoil. Telling that story becomes a complex ethical minefield in itself.A director who tries to portray a dire situation as realistically as possible risks subjecting and selling out.
And Panahi, not for the first time in his post-prohibition phase, has pondered the moral intricacies of his craft: Yes, photographs and movies can reveal the truth, but they often Is it possible to tell someone’s story without exploiting or falsifying it? Even Steven Spielberg, a filmmaker whose situation is radically different from Panahi’s, I asked a similar question in a recent semi-autobiographical drama. favermans. but, no bears, Panahi created a much more idiosyncratic kind of self-portrait. He puts himself in a fictional scenario and asks how he would react.
He seems to conclude that whatever his reaction, it is overwhelmingly inadequate. It is used to keep people from straying too far apart. There are no bears, at some point someone reassures Panahi. It does not mean.
Even as Panahi considers his own dilemma, no bears The tragedy is all the more tragic when you consider what happens to this great filmmaker and the country he clearly loves. no bears I would love to see him make another one.