For the last decade, Jafar Panahi has made a series of boldly inventive statements defying the Iranian government’s ban on him being an active filmmaker. As he faces six years imprisonment, his latest film is testimony to how artistry and protest can find inspiration in the very restrictions that he and other creative voices face. Panahi plays himself, a filmmaker trying to direct a cast and crew in Turkey, who is forced to remain in an Iranian village close to the border. As his actors perform their own story of attempted escape to Europe, Panahi finds himself coming up against suspicion and local traditions. Arguably the filmmaker’s richest and most complex work to date, No Bears is a witty, serio-comic self-portrait, and a resounding act of artistic and political expression.
No Bears, amongst other things, is a statement of intent. While there’s breath in his body, Panahi will find a way to keep the camera on.
A brave and brilliant film, one that reminds us to prize the truth above all.
The Financial Times
An inspired exercise in autofiction that is as illuminating as it is witty.
Little White Lies
Film of the Week Like Panahi’s recent films This Is Not a Film and Taxi Tehran, this is powerful because of its control, subtlety and diplomatic finesse.