Thursday, March 8, 2012

a day in the life

In 2010, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (Offside) was accused of "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country's national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic" and  was sentenced to six years in prison and barred from writing or directing movies.  Filmed in part by a friend and co-director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, This Is Not A Film is a clandestine chronicle of a day in the life of Panahi, under house arrest in his cozy, immaculate, beautifully-furnished apartment.  Yet despite the comforts that surround him, there is a noisy, unsettled city, devastating world events, and an inner turmoil.  We witness Panahi, in both his dread of his impending prison sentence and his inability to express himself artistically.  He blocks a scene by mask-taping his living room rug, painfully trying to relay the details of a movie he wanted to make.  In a stirring moment, he describes the gifts of an actor and the collective power of cinema.  I don't want to give away too many details because the film relies mostly on its strange surprises through its sometimes stationary held-hand and iphone cameras.  The  unusual, compelling ending takes us on a descent in an elevator with a mix of hope and despair.  Smuggled into France on a zip drive hidden in a cake, this is simply a stunning "effort," staggering in its simplicity and in its complex implications. ****

-Jeffery Berg

1 comment:

  1. I have to check this out with my sidekick DB really soon! Thanks for this great write-up! Just enough to whet the appetite!