Original title: خرس نیست (Khers Nist)
Director: Jafar Panahi
Runtime: 107 min
Language: Persian, Azerbaijani, Turkish with English subtitles
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Venice Film Festival 2022
In this tersely-woven, self-reflexive double narrative, Jafar Panahi plays a version of himself—a filmmaker banned from leaving Iran. Hiding out in a border town, he directs a docudrama about a couple who plans to flee from Turkey. Tensions run high in the village as the filmmaker becomes embroiled in a bitter conflict over an incidental photograph.
In 2010, the director was arrested for “making propaganda against the system”. He was released on bail and placed under house arrest. No Bears is the fifth feature film he made covertly while under a 20-year ban on travel and filmmaking.
Blurring the lines between reality and fiction, Panahi’s latest film stages a layered, meta-cinematic inquiry into the ethics of filmmaking. No Bears holds up a mirror to Iranian society, throwing into relief the invisible structures—political, patriarchal, psychological—that stand in the way of the characters’ struggles to live freely and with integrity.
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