Tuesday, 27 April 2010

NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS (IRAN/2009/BAHMAN GHOBADI)

Recently released from prison for public performances, musicians Negar and Ashkan prepare to beg, steal or borrow to play a gig in London they have been offered. The pair’s biggest obstacle is the stringent law about leaving the country, and when the couple realises they don’t have the documents they need, they turn to record producer Hamed, who simultaneously imbues them with confidence as well as dragging them into more trouble. Through integration with the rest of the Iranian underground music scene, running the gamut from indie to rap and making many stops between, Negar and Ashkan find extra band members with whom they decide to perform a benefit gig so that they can get passports and head to London. With the risk of being caught by the police literally hanging over their heads, the band is under intense pressure, and it seems like only a miracle can see them to their goal.

Director Bahman Ghobadi has previously found an audience in the West with features about Kurdish people constantly alienated from their environment, and the same themes run through No One Knows About Persian Cats, although the subject matter is vastly different. The protagonists, in real life a duo called Take It Easy Hospital, are endearing but are in no way the main attraction of the film. Ghobadi takes the opportunity to promote another face of Iran, one which refuses to deny outside influence and discovers new modes of creative expression. An effortlessly cool, politically charged piece of work.





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