Work in Progress (No, really)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No One Knows About Persian Cats/ کسی از گربه های ایرانی خبر ندارد

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No One Knows About Persian Cats is part-documentary and part-film that plunges the viewer into the underground music scene (and broader underground scene itself) of Iran. The plot revolves around the main characters, Negar and Ashkan, gathering up band members to go with them to London and prior to that, play one final concert with them in Iran. In order to get everything done, the duo relies on a middle-man ("music producer") named Nader to introduce possible potential members. He also is tasked with opening the channels through which they'll get visas and passports. Through these interactions the viewer is shown a side of Iran which otherwise is never shown -- underground music studios, bands and the less than posh areas of the country.

The highlight of this film is definitely includes the soundtrack (and the view of the "darker" side of Iran/Tehran). For a large part of the film I felt like I was just watching a series of (awesome) music videos more so than a film. The cinematography is very good and when the combination of sound track overplayed with the images of Iran's streets is really cool. The visual aspect of the film really reminds me "Lost in Translation." A wide array of musical genres are covered and almost each song seems to address "real" social issues.  

My man busted out with a "Sholay" reference in this film too!
Anyone who does that is cool in my books.
Towards the end of the film, the entire plot instantly comes together and what seemed more like a bunch of music videos becomes a pretty amazing, smooth-flowing film. The link that ties the music and the plot together is Nader (Hamed Behdad). Personally, this was the character in the movie that really made the entire movie click -- in terms of both plot and enjoyment factor. Negar and Ashkan aren't able to reach the viewer in the way that Nader's character is.

 Nader's character is that of a seemingly easy-going man and eccentric man who knows how to weasel his way out of tight situations. He plays a risky game, but as long as he comes out on top, everyone is happy. Or well, at least he is.

An important thing to remember is that this film was produced entirely on the "dl." (without a licence or mojavez). When the film crew was asked by authorities what they were making, they lied and said they were making a documentary. Moreover, due to the nature of the film content, and the fact that the crew didn't have permission to even shoot such a film, the entire filming process was done in about 17 days. The backlash from the film resulted in director Bahman Ghobadi living in exile, and the main stars Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad taking asylum in London.

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