This Is Not a Film May Not Be a Film, But It Shows How Iran Kicks the Hell Out of Its Artists

Regardless of whether you believe Iran is trying to create nuclear weapons, and regardless of how you feel about going to war with another Middle Eastern country, it's impossible to deny that the nation's human-rights and free-expression record sucks. About a decade ago Marjane Satrapi told the story of the Islamic revolution in Iran in the late 1970s in the graphic novel Persepolis. In it she depicts how people in Iran's large creative, academic, and leftist political circles (including her parents) were excited by the promise of a more free and egalitarian society. Then came the hard-line fundamentalists, and folks like her parents were rounded up, beaten up, put in jail, or put to death for speaking their minds.

Filmmaker Jafar Panahi wasn't put to death, but he was punished by the Iranian government several years ago for doing what he loves — making films. Unfortunately, those films contradict what's officially acceptable in Iran. So he was banned from doing it for a long, long time. He made an attempt to get around the law while still doing what he loves. The result is This Is Not a Film.

Click through to see the trailer and read a short review by Village Voice Media film critic Karina Longworth.

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