No One Knows About Persian Cats (12A)

Film

Drama

No One Knows About Persian Cats.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Mar 23 2010

The bands in Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi’s deceptively ramshackle snapshot of Tehran’s underground music scene joke about the blood-drinking and devil worship of which they’re often accused. Which is funny, because these Converse kids look like they were raised on a steady diet of Dave Eggers and Devendra Banhart, not Satan and haemoglobin. ‘Persian Cats’ is not a documentary but Ghobadi has said the script is 90 per cent real life and his actor/musicians seem pretty much to be playing themselves. Among them are Ashkan (Ashkan Koshanejad) and Negar (Negar Shaghaghi), a couple just out of prison and putting together an indie band to take to London.

All non-religious music is illegal in Iran, so it’s a crepuscular world of basement cellars into which the jittery camera follows them. Negar and Ashkan hook up with Nader, a wheeler-dealer (played hilariously Hamed Behdad), who promises to procure black market passports. He also takes them – and us – on a tour of Tehran’s musicians, from Farsi rappers to traditional vocalists, to find band mates. There are some brilliantly funny scenes: a farmer moans that the metal band practising in a cowshed is putting his heifers off milking. There are some lovely murmurs too of the graceful expressiveness for which Ghobadi (‘Turtles Can Fly’) is known: a gentle guitar teacher plays to a classroom of rapt five year olds. A few have criticised the music for being patchy, which it is. But that’s mealy-mouthed considering the bravery and resistance of the musicians. The personal cost is realised in a sudden spasm of violence at the end, making this a full-throated plea for civil liberties. Incidentally, Ghobadi and his two leads have since had to leave Iran.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Mar 26, 2010

Duration:

106 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Bahman Ghobadi

Screenwriter:

Bahman Ghobadi

Cast:

Negar Shaghaghi, Ashkan Koshanejad, Hamed Behdad

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Jubin

I take serious offense to the condescending way in which this film consistently seems to be reviewed. You flabby critics have little to no idea about the culture of Iran, the importance of this film and the fact that within the political context of modern-day Iran, this film screams 'democracy' at the top of its lungs. Dismissing the performers in this movie the way you have only seeks to make these young people- young people who are doing far more to fight tyranny than US military action is- looks ridiculous. HichKas is far more than a Jay-Z wannabe- he is the voice of a generation who has revived ancient Persian poetic traditions. But you don't know that, do you? You didn't even watch the movie close enough to realize that Negar is, in fact, female- not Ashkan. In the future, please do your job properly.

Jubin

I take serious offense to the condescending way in which this film consistently seems to be reviewed. You flabby critics have little to no idea about the culture of Iran, the importance of this film and the fact that within the political context of modern-day Iran, this film screams 'democracy' at the top of its lungs. Dismissing the performers in this movie the way you have only seeks to make these young people- young people who are doing far more to fight tyranny than US military action is- looks ridiculous. HichKas is far more than a Jay-Z wannabe- he is the voice of a generation who has revived ancient Persian poetic traditions. But you don't know that, do you? You didn't even watch the movie close enough to realize that Negar is, in fact, female- not Ashkan. In the future, please do your job properly.