To take the title literally, what is Jafar Panahi presenting us with here? It could be read as a postcard from the director to the international film community that has voiced outrage about the charges of anti-government activities made against him in Iran, where he has been sentenced to six years in prison and banned from making films for 20 years. Panahi is filmed at home in his family apartment, the celebrations for the Iranian New Year happening outside. He chats to his collaborator behind the camera, reads from his scripts, talks about a project the authorities have objected to, speaks to representatives about his situation, looks after a pet iguana, and, briefly, a neighbour's dog, and can't resist picking up a camera to interview his building's janitor. It's easy to respond emotionally to the courage it must have taken Panahi to put his name to this, though there are incidents here when you might question whether he is taking it all so seriously, frequent moments of warmth and humour that make it fascinatingly hopeful and curiously cheering. Inadequately defined as documentary or performance, if this is not a film, it is a bold artistic statement, the product of a restless, creative imagination that remains unfettered.
- Jafar Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
- Jafar Panahi
- 75 min
- Original Title:
- In film nist