In Film Nist (This Is Not A Film) by Jafar Panahi

Jafar Panahi © DR

In Film Nist (This is Not a Film) by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb is both a logbook and an act of resistance, and is being shown as a Special Screening. It arrived discreetly at the Festival de Cannes at the same time as Bé Omid é Didar by Mohammad Rassoulof, and narrates the daily life of an Iranian filmmaker, awaiting his sentence.


This is not a film. No, of course not. How could it be, when Jafar Panahi has been banned from making films? He was arrested along with Mohammad Rassoulof  in March 2010, on suspicion of making a film hostile to the government. They were condemned to six years in prison and given a 20 year ban on making films and leaving the country. Both have appealed their sentence.


In In Film Nist (This Is Not A Film), which he made with the director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Jafar Panahi narrates waiting for the verdict of the Court of Appeal, thus giving a snapshot of the situation faced by Iranian cinema. “The revelatory essence of cinema helps the artist to overcome problems and transform all restrictions into artistic material through the creative process”, write the two filmmakers in a letter addressed to the Festival de Cannes dated 5 May.


Jafar Panahi is 50 years old and is one of the most influential figures in the new wave of Iranian cinema. His films are banned in his own country but regularly win awards at festivals. He won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes in 1995 for Badkonak-E Sefid (The White Balloon), the Lion d’or in Venice in 2000 for Dayereh (The Circle), the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2006 for Offside, and more besides.


This is the filmmaker’s second time in the Official Selection. Talaye sorkh (Crimson Gold) was selected for Un Certain Regard in 2003 and won the Prix du Jury. Last year he was invited to join the Jury during his imprisonment, and his chair was left empty throughout the Festival.


B. de M.


The film is being screened on Friday 20 May at 3 pm, in the salle du Soixantième.