خرس نیستDirected by Jafar Panahi
Special Jury Prize, 2022 Venice Film Festival
Prolific Iranian director Jafar Panahi was arrested and sentenced to six months in jail by the Iranian government in July after speaking out about the detention of fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad. Since then, young women across the country have risen up in protest after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, was beaten to death by morality police. NO BEARS, which Panahi completed before his arrest, speaks powerfully to the conditions in the country and their psychological toll.
With signature disregard for the boundaries between truth and fiction, Panahi plays a version of himself renting a room in a small village on the Iranian side of the Turkish border, while remotely directing a film being shot on the other side. The film-within-a-film follows a man and woman attempting to secure safe passage to Europe. The actors, playing versions of themselves, constantly question the director’s motives and methods via remote capture. Meanwhile, in the village, Panahi wrestles directly with the harmful potential of image-making when he accidentally captures evidence of an illicit affair and is faced with a decision that would determine the fate of the two lovers.
Even as the border beckons with promises of freedom and poses few external obstacles—there are, contrary to rumor, “no bears” on the path across—the dangers, implications, and frightful realities of exile keep Panahi rooted in his home soil, with disastrous real-world consequences.
Co-Presented by the Persian Cultural Center.