Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 1hr 41m
Despite being banned from filmmaking by his own country, Jafar Panahi still triumphs in presenting involving and revelatory visions of the state of Iran.
Assisting locally famous actress Behnaz Jafari, Panahi undertakes a road-trip to a small village in the rural northwest to investigate a plea for help contained within a young girl’s video. According to her message, she had strived ferociously to become an actress only to be ostracised by her entire community for such frivolous ambitions.
Sympathetic to the girl’s position and determined to find out the truth, Jafari and Panahi investigate the village and unearth a wealth of stories, ranging from amusing to grim to surreal. A larger picture slowly forms, depicting a society loyal to order and tradition, and suspicious of ambition in women, not least entertainers, as the example of a mysterious former actress in the village reveals.
Made with understandably limited resources (given the director’s ban) and fogging the barrier between fiction and reality, Panahi nevertheless succeeds in creating an expansive, layered and ultimately warm vision of art flourishing against all opposition.
Come and support Panahi’s sly and defiant metafictional road movie.