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Film of the Week

February 27, 2015

• Nicole Malek

Name: This is Not A Film


What I loved about it:

As you can guess from its title, This is Not A Film is a documentary very interested in it’s own form. If this isn’t a film, what is? It constantly poses this question through the eyes of it’s subject, Persian director Jafar Panahi. For political reasons, Panahi has been banned from filmmaking by the Iranian government. We see him in the time that he awaits confirmation of this verdict (as well as 6 years of possible jail time). Doing his best not to make a film as it would be “an offense,” he instead painstakingly attempts to recreate his most recent script, pausing to lament the difference between his retelling and a film itself.


Why you should watch it:

Very early in the film, the following exchange happens between Panahi, the subject, and Mirtahmasb, the director:

Panahi: “Cut. Come on, cut.”

Mirtahmasb: “You are not directing, it is an offense. Carry on reading.”

This happens often and is interesting every time. It is a fascinating look into the stuggle of the artist not allowed to work, but also a constant reminder of the subjectivity of what we are seeing and all film.


Where you can watch it: It’s on Netflix!


Who made it:

Jafar Panahi is a critically acclaimed Iranian director commonly associated with the Iranian New Wave. Mojtaba Mirtahmasb is a filmmaker and producer. They made this film together. And, because it was illegal and subject to governmental seizure, they smuggled it out of Iran on a flash drive hidden in a cake.


Nicole Malek

Community Manager, Seed&Spark



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