This is Not a Film

This is Not a Film is a day-in-the-life documentary of Jafar Panahi’s experience of being under house arrest, filmed almost entirely inside his apartment in Tehran, as he creatively expresses his frustration of not being allowed to do what comes so naturally to this passionate writer and filmmaker: make films.

Jafar Panahi, the Iranian writer/director of internationally acclaimed films such as The White Balloon, The Circle and Offside, is under house arrest and a 20 year ban on making films, leaving Iran and talking to the media. This is Not a Film is a courageous effort by Panahi and his co-director Motjaba Mirtahmasb to fight against censorship and for the human rights of, not only his colleagues in the Iranian film industry, but filmmakers everywhere.

This is Not a Film was smuggled from Iran to France on a USB drive inside a cake, and supported by the international film community including filmmakers of the highest profile, Panahi and Mirtahmasb’s film will be shown to audiences around the world despite efforts in the filmmakers’ homeland to censor their voices.

Country of Origin: Iran Language: Farsi w/ English subtitles Duration: 75 minutes Rating: G Starring: Jafar Panahi, Motjaba Mirtahmasb Australian release: 10 November 2011


WINNER: Carrosse d'Or, Festival de Cannes 2011


4 STARS – David Stratton, At the Movies ‘A refreshing and intrinsically beautiful film’ – David Stratton, At the Movies

4 STARS – Margaret Pomeranz, At the Movies

‘Highly recommended’ – Julie Rigg, Movietime, ABC Radio National

4 ½ STARS – Jake Wilson, The Saturday Age ‘An inspiring demonstration of what is meant by grace under pressure’ – Jake Wilson, The Saturday Age

4 ½ STARS– Craig Mathieson, SBS Film ‘A transcendent experience’– Craig Mathieson, SBS Film ‘It’s hard to think of a more powerfully uplifting and resonant finale in a film released this year.’ – Craig Mathieson, SBS Film ‘A heartfelt act of defiance’– Craig Mathieson, SBS Film

4 STARS– David Stratton, The Weekend Australian ‘Mandatory viewing for any number of reasons, not least because it’s the latest, and seemingly the last for a time, work of a major director, but also because it’s a reminder that some artists risk everything to get their message out to a wider world’ – David Stratton, The Weekend Australian

4 STARS – Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald ‘A brave and eloquent call for help’ - Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

4 STARS– Tom Ryan, The Sunday Age ‘A masterpiece of allusion’ – Tom Ryan, The Sunday Age ‘Brave’ – Tom Ryan, The Sunday Age

4 STARS– Nick Dent, Sunday Telegraph ‘Moving and poetic’ – Nick Dent, Sunday Telegraph

4 STARS– Rose Capp, The [This is Not a Film] shows just why Panahi is regarded as one of the most influential directors working today’ – Rose Capp, The

4 STARS– Sarah Ward, ArtsHub ‘Complex, compelling, haunting and engaging, insightful and intellectual viewing experience’ – Sarah Ward, ArtsHub

4 STARS– Thomas Caldwell, The Big Issue ‘A wicked act of intricately crafted work about the art of filmmaking’ – Thomas Caldwell, The Big Issue

‘Breathtakingly cinematic, a cannily crafted verite crackling with immediacy. As much as it's a political statement, an act of defiance, a master class in one auteur's body of work and process, and a document of a life unseen, it's also, maybe most miraculously, a never-a-dull-moment entertainment.’ - LA WEEKLY

‘Cannes review: Jafar Panahi Turns Censorship Into Art with Stunning This is Not a Film; criticWIRE grade: A’ - IndieWire

‘The film of the [Cannes Film] festival of 2011...[Panahi and Mirtahmasb], using the barest means but inspired by their art, their passion, and their existence in the world, have crafted one of cinema's rare masterpieces of truth.’- MUBI

‘Panahi's day of filming falls on Fireworks Wednesday, which marks the Persian New Year -- a holiday that makes innocuous law-breakers of many, at least according to a news report Panahi watches, in which the president decrees fireworks illegal. Standing at his balcony, filming the revelry with his iPhone, he seems to be saying that directing is more defiant an act than lighting a firecracker or two. Truth be told, Panahi's poignant "Film" is infinitely more explosive.’ - Variety

‘By far the most powerful and moving film screened at Cannes.’ - Daily Beast

This is Not a Film is built from nothing, and yet every moment has a powerful urgency to it.’ - BFI/Sight & Sound

‘This Is Not a Film is an unusual documentary that gives viewers a clear feeling for the director’s life trapped inside the gilded cage of his luxurious Teheran apartment, his frustration at not being able to express himself artistically, and the courage and humour with which he faces an uncertain future.’ - The Hollywood Reporter

‘...the amazing closing shot brings the volatility of post-Green Revolution Iran home with unforgettable force.’ – AV Club


Brisbane International Film Festival,  3-13 November 2011


Cinema Nova

Hoyts Cinema Paris

Dendy Portside

NFSA Arc Cinema

Palace Nova Eastend

State Cinema



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