GFF 2012: This Is Not a Film

Film Review by Chris Buckle | 29 Mar 2012
  • This is Not a Film
Film title: This Is Not a Film
Director: Jafar Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
Starring: Jafar Panahi
Release date: 30 Mar
Certificate: U

In 2009, Iranian director Jafar Panahi was arrested for supporting anti-Ahmadinejad protests; in 2010, he was arrested a second time, sentenced to six years imprisonment, and banned from making films for twenty years. This Is Not a Film documents a day of house arrest during an ultimately unsuccessful appeals process: Panahi eats breakfast, discusses the case with his lawyer, and reads extracts from the film that might have been. “Perhaps by reading and explaining, I might create an image for it…” he proposes, but finds the compromise troubling. “If we could tell a film," he despondently asks, “then why make a film?” 

This Is Not a Film is a bold artistic statement, a guided career retrospective, a political act, and a mediation on the very nature of cinema – all at once, with neither self-pity or intellectual elitism to muddy the waters. While Panahi’s plight is deplorably sad, his uncowed defiance delivers an inventive and eloquent exposition of injustice. [Chris Buckle]

This Is Not a Film is screening 17 Feb (GFT1, 2pm) and 18 Feb (GFT2, 11.15am) at Glasgow Film Festival

See for details