Fifth about The Seventh

No Bears (Khers Nist)

No Bears: the dual nature of Jafar Panahi’s film allows him to deal with one particular issue from two different directions. He tells the story of a film director (himself) staying in a remote village to be near the production of a film he is directing across the Türkiye-Iran border, and both the film within the film and the film itself deal with lovers who face the possibility of not staying together, due to superstition or bureaucracy. Making things even more interesting, the nature of the storytelling is far from obvious: is this a docudrama about a docudrama? A through-and-through drama? Aesthetically very simple, with lengthy takes by cinematographer Amin Jafari, the film keeps the charade alive. The main performances, by Panahi playing himself, Mina Kavani and Bakhtiyar Panjeei as the couple playing themselves in the film, and Vahid Mobasheri as Pahani’s host in the village, are all very subdued, non-actorly. It can, however, be slow at times.

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