Cert: 12A Year: 2022 Length: 106 mins Language: Persian, Azerbaijani
Cinema Handout (PDF 69KB)
Score: 74.58% Attendance: 64
"Fact and fiction, truth and lies swirl about each other in Jafar Panahi's latest. The film - in which Panahi plays a version of himself - also deals with the age-old conundrum of whether to stay or go. Panahi himself doesn't currently have the latter option, having been detained by the Iranian authorities back in July and ordered to serve six years in prison. Given that, since the filmmaker was banned from making movies in 2010 by the regime, he has made 10 features and shorts, it's unlikely this latest act of repression will succeed in silencing him either" – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film.
"Panahi introduces two stories that extend in parallel throughout 'No Bears'. One follows the production of a film-within-the-film, that Panahi is attempting to direct via Zoom while stationed in the small village of Jaban on the Iranian side of the border. This tracks the attempts of a refugee couple stuck in the Turkish town for the last 10 years to escape to France. The other is a docufiction about Panahi's stay in Jaban and the suspicions and dramas his covert filmmaking rustles up" – based on a review by Jamsheed Akrami in Film Comment.
"No Bears starts in a gently comic tone, and we are fooled into expecting a gentle observation of rural Iran. But as he weaves his two stories together, the tone shifts at a nail-biting trot towards something more sinister. We're left not only fearing for Panahi's lovers, but for our director too. As he walks through the darkness to meet a group of angry men, a stranger gives him a piece of advice. Lie to them. They mostly do not care about the truth, only the appearance of the truth" – Greer McNally, Time Out.
Moving, satirical, and frightening in equal measure
Andrew Parker, The Gate
A complex layer cake of guilt and suspicion, where even a great shot by a master director is a suspect device. Danny Leigh, Financial Times
Like Panahi’s recent films This Is Not a Film and Taxi Tehran, this is powerful because of its control, subtlety and diplomatic finesse. Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
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