Quick-Thoughts: Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not a Film (2011)

If you had only hours to share your final story, secluded within the boundaries of just your home with no equipment outside a camera, a friend, and the hospitable materials at your disposal, how would you do it? In order for there to be some mild amount of success, one would need to be quite talented in constructing resourceful storytelling that emulates cinematic imagery, tingling the audience’s imagination graphically. 

It’s a difficult task for director Jafar Panahi though. He’s disrupted by a desire for authenticity in the visual storytelling and already psychologically pressured by the legacy of the Iranian Government’s strict rules against moviemakers. This film may not be planned, this film may not be warranted in every moment it breathes, but the circumstances surrounding this film are utterly inspiring and, maybe, slightly devastating as well considering it causes you to directly click with a passionate director trying to ring out any sort of final footage before he is sent to jail and exiled from filmmaking. Panahi’s unsure rebellion in the arts is certainly rewarding to witness. 

Verdict: B

“This Is Not a Film” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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