Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jason watches THIS IS NOT A FILM

This is the story of director Jafar Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker whose latest script was not approved by the authorities. In fact, for his...well, the idea of such censorship is so foreign that I don't know exactly what for, but he has been sentenced to a 20 year ban on making movies. No writing, no directing, no interviews, etc. But he thinks he has found a technicality. He can still read his already written script on camera to his friend Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. Part day-in-the-life of a stymied and frustrated filmmaker, and part retelling of his banned screenplay, we see him field phone calls and play with his pet iguana in between bouts of film-telling (which remember, isn't technically filmmaking.) And we also see from the windows the chaos and rioting in the streets right after the disputed elections.

As for a re-telling of a never made film,...well, the process of telling a film doesn't work. And that's the point and the frustration. As a day-in-the-life of a censored filmmaker...well, he seems to live in enough luxury (his place looks pretty nice, and he has a rather expensive looking big flat-screen TV to show his movies on) and there's just not enough context (at least, not enough for this typical America) to show his frustration (there is, of course, an important difference between comfort and happiness.) But as a bold statement of "fuck you" to the censoring authorities, it works brilliantly. And I instantly liked Jafar enough that I hope nothing bad has happened to him as a result.

Running Time: 75 minutes
My Total Minutes: 276,983

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