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NO BEARS

Such a shame that in its closing stretch Jafar Panahi’s No Bears adds abrupt, out-of-nowhere drama to a film that works best when it’s light and subtle.



I’m a big advocate for watching movies irrespective of the context they’re made in, but for No Bears I’d make an exception.


The movie tells the story of an Iranian director – played by actual director Jafar Panahi – who tries to remotely shoot a production by giving instructions from an Iranian border town via an internet connection while his cast act out the scenes from a neighbouring Turkish town. The thinly conceived irony will not be lost on an audience who knows that Panahi himself has been banned by the Iranian regime from making movies and spent the past half year in a Teheran jail.


Yet strangely it’s not this aspect of No Bears that stands out the most. That would be the Kafkaesque way in which Panahi has to defend himself to the town elders for supposedly taking a photo of two people who didn’t want their photo taken.


Here the film shows a whimsy that is missing in other segments, especially the final 15 minutes, harrowing as they may be, that add abrupt, out-of-nowhere drama to a film that works best when it’s light and subtle.



release: 2022

director: Jafar Panahi

starring: Jafar Panahi, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobasheri, Mina Kavani

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