Thursday, March 31, 2016

Blind Spot: This Is Not A Film (2012)

Panahi's Film is something special.

Directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
Produced by Jafar Panahi
Written by Jafar Panahi
Starring Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb

Plot Summary: Under house arrest, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi spends a day in his apartment, as life goes on around him.

Significance: The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and it won several Documentary prizes, including ones from the International Cinephile Society and the Online Film Critics Society. It was lucky to even be seen at all, as the film was smuggled out of Iran in a flash drive concealed in a birthday cake.

Thoughts: Though not able to make a film or write a screenplay for 20 years, Jafar Panahi, filmed partly by fellow filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, manages to create a small gem here. He wonders around his home, discussing some of his work and acting out parts of his new, unproduced film. Others come in and out of his day, as he talks with people like the film’s co-director/cameraman Mirtahmasb, his legal council, his neighbor, and a young acquaintance collecting everyone’s trash. While it might sound thinly sketched, the film is a daring piece of art made under duress. Panahi and Mirtahmasb have managed to make a film, which proudly circumvents censorship and gives new life to artistic expression. This Is Not A Film is a must-see, period.

Rating: A

This is the third film in my 2016 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.


  1. This sounds really interesting, I know I've heard this title before, but I'm not sure that I heard the story behind it until now.

    1. It's a fascinating film, if only for the backstory and its mere existence. Hope you get a chance to see it.

  2. I agree it's daring. For me the point of him shooting the film in the flat made sense, because he couldn't do anything else. For that reason I give the film a pass.

    1. Yeah, it's a bold experiment, and a vital piece of cinema, even if it's not exactly perfect.