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No Bears (2022)

Opens on February 10

Director: Jafar Panahi Run Time: 106 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2022

Starring: Bakhtiyar Panjeei, Jafar Panahi, Mina Khosravani, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobaser

Country: Iran
Language: Persian, Azerbaijani

About the film:

Special Jury Prize winner, 2022 Venice Film Festival

One of the world’s great cinematic artists, Jafar Panâhi has been carefully crafting self-reflexive works about artistic, personal, and political freedom for the past three decades, despite his oppression at the hands of the Iranian government. Now, as the international film community vehemently denounces his summer 2022 arrest and continued imprisonment for his vocal support of a fellow artist’s independence, Panâhi has gifted us all with a new virtuosic sleight-of-hand.

In No Bears, as in many of his recent titles, Panâhi plays a fictionalized version of himself, in this case relocated to a rural border town to remotely direct a new film in nearby Turkey – the story of which comes to sharply mirror disturbing events that begin to occur around him. As he struggles to complete his film, Panâhi finds himself thrust in the middle of a local scandal, confronting the opposing pulls of tradition and progress, city and country, belief and evidence, and the universal desire to reject oppression.

About the filmmaker:

Jafar Panâhi is an influential Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor commonly associated with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved international recognition with his feature film debut, The White Balloon (1995). The film won the Caméra d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, the first major award an Iranian film won at Cannes.

Panâhi is known for his humanistic approach to life in Iran, with a focus on the hardships of children, the impoverished, and women. Due to the content of his films, they were often banned in Iran, and Panâhi himself was arrested in 2009 and later charged with propaganda against the Iranian government, despite support from filmmakers, film organizations, and human rights organizations from around the world. Despite repression, he continued to receive international acclaim. His projects include major festival winners The Mirror (1997), The Circle (2000)Crimson Gold (2003), Offside (2006), Taxi (2015), 3 Faces (2018), and No Bears (2022), as well as This Is Not a Film (2011), a documentary feature in the form of a video diary that was smuggled out of Iran on a flash drive hidden inside a cake and shown at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

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