Previously at Film Forum


  • 1:00
  • 2:50
  • 4:40
  • 6:30
  • 8:20
  • 10:10

$7 Member $12.50 Regular

Both Panahi and co-director Mirtahmasb are currently banned from filmmaking and from leaving the country. Both men are accused of fomenting anti-government propaganda through their movies. Panahi’s appeal was denied in October. According to the Islamic Republic's laws, he could be arrested and sent back to jail at any time.


“The only movie to rival the power of MELANCHOLIA was the smallest: Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s THIS IS NOT A FILM, shot on a cell phone and a modest DV camera and smuggled from Tehran to Paris... hidden in a cake... In March 2011... Panahi, under house arrest in his Tehran apartment while his sentence — six years in prison and a 20-year ban on making films — was being appealed, is irresistibly drawn to setting up his home video camera. For him, moviemaking is almost as essential as breathing, and so he decides to investigate the ontology of cinema in order to make a film that is not one... The result is a great (i.e. reflexive) movie portrait of an artist, creatively and without any self-pity, looking for a way to preserve his freedom simply to represent the world as he sees it... (The film) is rich with incident: forbidden fireworks explode outside; the family’s giant pet iguana crawls compulsively across the floor and up and down the bookcases, much as Panahi must envision himself soon to be pacing in a prison cell. For a man condemned, even putting jam on his breakfast toast with the sunlight streaming onto the kitchen table is a remarkable moment.” – Amy Taubin, Film Comment, reporting on the 2011 Cannes Festival.




“A MASTERPIECE. Bristles with a topical, real-world urgency…a provocative, radical and at times surprisingly playful meditation on the nature of representation. A subtle, strange and haunting work of art. (Turns) a highly personal video diary into a charged and expansive historical narrative.”
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A valiant and dangerous act of protest against the sinister farce of Panahi’s punishment. A fable about a man who is free in spirit – an irrepressible director who will make films in his head if he has to. The movie is also about a man without fear. It is often funny and stirring…“
– David Denby, The New Yorker

“The[Cannes] festival audience seemed pretty much knocked out by Panahi’s resourcefulness, honesty, and conceptual intelligence… I cannot gauge the risks Panahi took or fathom the courage necessary to produce that which I have now seen several times. I can only note that the effort called THIS IS NOT A FILM is something more than a film.” 
– J. Hoberman, Artforum

“An extraordinary film. THIS IS NOT A FILM ends with a whimper that is a bang.”
– David Edelstein, New York magazine

*****! 5 STARS - highest rating
[5 stars - highest rating]
“Critics’ Pick. Sure it is and a great one at that! (A) profoundly introspective feature. A much more canny blend of fiction and fact, in line with the director’s 1997 meta masterpiece, THE MIRROR. The threat to Panahi’s life and livelihood is ominously, omnipresently real. That he nonetheless meets this terrible situation with dignity and effusiveness is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. Pure provocative cinema. Don’t miss it.”

– Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“Breathtakingly cinematic. A political statement, an act of defiance, a master class in one auteur’s body of work and process, and a document of a life unseen. Above all, it’s a gripping entertainment.”
– Karina Longworth, Village Voice