No One Knows About Persian Cats

"Very Good"

No One Knows About Persian Cats Review


Iranian filmmaker Ghobadi examines the underground music scene in his country by telling a fictional story that's based on "real events, locations and people". The film vividly shows that the young people of Teheran aren't any different from anyone else. Although they have a lot more obstacles.

Negar and Ashkan are trying to form a band to travel to London to play a concert. Well-known on the indie rock scene in Teheran, they are meeting with other musicians and practicing songs together in empty warehouses and basements. Meanwhile, they meet Nader (Behdad), who helps them get the necessary travel documents on the black market. Nader is a smiling fast-talker for whom anything is possible, and Negar and Ashkan have no choice but to trust him.

As we follow this bright young couple around the city, often riding on the back of Nader's motorbike, we get a remarkably thorough glimpse of the society. Not only do all of these young musicians look exactly like their Western counterparts, but their city is also indistinguishable, with European cars, motorways, skyscrapers, shops and commuter trains. This alone makes this film urgent viewing for much of the West, which seems to think of Iran as some sort of stone-age backwater.

Even more important is what is says about young people. As they travel around meeting other musicians, we hear their songs and listen to them talk about their life and joke with each other. Their music is passionate pop, ranging from soft rock to metal to rap, often with politically barbed lyrics. And it's illegal for them to perform it in public, so they hold underground concerts and parties while living in constant fear of police raids. And the situation is worse for Negar, because as a woman she has far more restrictions than men.

Ghobadi shoots and edits this with skill, catching telling details in every scene, allowing the vivid personalities to come out and letting the cast use improvised dialog to explain the situations while peppering scenes with important facts. Several sequences turn into make-shift music videos, crosscutting the bands with the local streetlife, and as the film progresses the comical tone quietly gives way to a more serious plot in which things start to go wrong for the central characters. So the startling final events really leave us thinking.



No One Knows About Persian Cats

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd December 2009

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: Mij Film Co., Mitosfilm

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 55 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Negar Shaghaghi as Negar, Ashkan Koshanejad as Ashkan, Hamed Behdad as Nader

Also starring:

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