‘This Is Not A Film’ chronicles Panahi’s creative imprisonment
This Is Not A Film
Directed by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi
Written by Jafar Panahi
When the Iranian government moved last year to formally ban Jafar Panahi from writing or directing any future films for the next two decades, Panahi decided to interpret the ban in the narrowest terms possible. He can not write a screenplay, true, and he can not direct a scene, but what do those two things mean when it comes to making a film?
Panahi, clearly finding the confines of his house arrest stifling, decided to explore that question, enlisting fellow filmmaker Mojbata Mirtahmasb to help him avoid the darker grey areas of the ban. The result is the appropriately titled This Is Not A Film, a sort of video experiment/exploration that of course begs the question of whether or not it is actually a film. By Panahi’s strict reasoning it is not, or at least not a film by him. The definition of what This Is Not A Film is, as opposed to what is not is kept intentionally vague, a problem in need of an explanation.