No Bears

Using two parallel love stories, Iranian great Jafar Panahi (Offside, Taxi Tehran) reflects on the personal and political freedom of artists.

Please note that this film is in Persian and Azerbaijani, with Dutch subtitles.
Time & Tickets

If there is one director who can lay claim to the title ‘brave’, it must be Jafar Panahi. In 2010, the authorities banned him from filming in his country and travelling abroad. Nevertheless, Panahi has since made five films, which he also managed to smuggle out of the country. He completed NO BEARS last, even before he was sentenced in July 2022 to serve a previously imposed six-year jail term. NO BEARS was subsequently awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Last Friday (Feb. 3), Panahi was released after three months in exile following a brief hunger strike.

In NO BEARS, Panahi ingeniously interweaves his own position as a banned filmmaker with the handling of (both literal and figurative) borders, and the contrast between city and countryside, between modernity and tradition. As he has done previously, he plays himself, as a director following the progress of his film, which is being shot in a Turkish city just across the Iranian border. The film is about a couple in love who want to cross the border, to flee to France. Meanwhile, the director himself gets involved in a conflict surrounding a future couple in the village where he is staying. Skilfully, Panahi works this ingenious whole towards an ending that is appropriate in more ways than one. (jc)

Jafar Panahi, Iran, 2022, 107 min. Persian spoken, Dutch subtitles. With afar Panahi, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobasheri, Bakhtiyar Panjeei, Mina Kavani..