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This Is Not a Film

This Is Not a Film (2012)



Average Rating: 8.8/10
Reviews Counted: 87
Fresh: 85 | Rotten: 2

Through simple means and filming, This is Not a Film presents a vital political statement and a snapshot of life in Iran as enemy of the state.


Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 2

Through simple means and filming, This is Not a Film presents a vital political statement and a snapshot of life in Iran as enemy of the state.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 8,544

My Rating

Movie Info

This clandestine documentary, shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, depicts the day-to-day life of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (Offside, The Circle) during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment. While appealing his sentence - six years in prison and a 20 year ban from filmmaking - Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb and reflecting on the meaning of the art of

Feb 26, 2013


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March 1, 2012:
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All Critics (87) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

This film is unique in a dreadful way: what happens on screen would not be particularly interesting without the facts surrounding its making.

June 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
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Not a conventional film, certainly, but a powerful and important statement.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is courage and cheekiness here. What there is not is a story, or much insight or even anger; anyone expecting an indictment of Iran will be sorely disappointed.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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Truly and defiantly extraordinary in its own quiet way.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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This may not be a film, but it's a moving statement of defiance and despair.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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It's a cry from the heart of an artist compelled to create, tell stories and respond to hostile, confounding realities.

May 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Powerfully shows how freedom in the arts is a necessity for any country to ensure its citizens don't live a lie.

June 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

There's a tremendous power under the simple-looking surface.

March 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

No matter the constrictions on its existence, This is Not a Film is, in fact, a great one.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: indieWIRE

One mourns the tragic circumstances that caused it to be made, but the result is a sleight of hand to rank alongside Orson Welles's F for Fake.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out Chicago
Time Out Chicago

See it any way you possibly can. It will change your life forever.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

This Is Not a Film is a practical joke as much as it is a movie, and while it possesses a deadly serious undercurrent, what's most surprising is how witty the finished product is.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The complex, brilliant, heartbreaking diary of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi under house arrest in Tehran, and prohibited from making movies.

December 16, 2012 Full Review Source:

I find myself returning again and again to Jafar Panahi's apartment in Tehran, the defining location for the year in cinema, one of the defining locations in all of cinema.

December 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

"This Is Not a Film", but it manages to be a bloody great one, anyway.

December 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The truth of what is and isn't lies deep between the lines of this brilliantly elusive meta-commentary, arguably the greatest Iranian film since Abbas Kiarostami's masterpiece Close-Up.

November 5, 2012
Projection Booth

Predictably, not much happens in "This Is Not a Film"; dude is under house arrest, after all. But it's absorbing and clever.

May 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian | Comment (1)

What constitutes imprisonment and what constitutes a film?

May 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Herald | Comment (1)
Boston Herald

[A] courageous act of artistic provocation...

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Audience Reviews for This Is Not a Film

This is not a Film is not a film. The clue is in the title. It is however more important than that, it is an essay on film making and expression and it is a political reaction to oppression. It may seem like a man pottering around his flat thinking things up and talking to his lawyer but it is so much more than that. It's mundane content is kind of the point. He risked his life making this film, something that us in the West find hard to comprehend or appreciate. It's not art, it's not entertainment, it's a tiny revolution. It should be watched, it's hard to enjoy due to the subject matter and because it's ordinary but the truth is that it is actually extraordinary and should be acknowledged.
July 25, 2013

Super Reviewer

This Is Not a Film, is a scream of help.
July 18, 2013
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

"This is Not a Film" follows a filmmaker (Jafar Panahi) through his house after he has been released from prison, not being able to write, direct, or produce a film while he is on house arrest. It is extremely interesting and enlightening to see a man with such loss, still being able to enjoy whatever is left of his life. Reflecting back on his past films while trying to explain a film idea that he will never get the chance to make, I was 100% devoted to the realism of this "film." It captivated me in many ways and showed everything that needed to be shown from a story like this. This is partial documentary and partial found-footage film, and it works brilliantly in both aspects. Would I watch it again? No, but I admire the hell out of it!
March 13, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

It certainly is not a film; it's a rip-off. Charging $13 for "This Is Not a Film," a one-hour short almost devoid of content, is highway robbery. This is one of the few times in my life when I felt the theater owed me a refund. I really resented being charged $13 for this.

I was excited when I first heard about this "film," and I love the basic idea for the project. Jafar Panahi, the Iranian filmmaker who has been put under house arrest and prohibited from making films, records the various goings-on in his Teheran apartment using his iPhone. It sounded to me like a great testament to human creativity.

You can steal a filmmaker's camera and lock him up, but he will find a way to create! I also love how 21st-century technology undercuts fascist governments at every turn.

I couldn't wait to see what Panahi would have to say from the confines of his house arrest. What a shock to learn that he has almost nothing to say. If you're going to work so hard to create clandestine footage and smuggle it out of Iran, at least have something to say!

All we see is Panahi puttering about the house, feeding his pet iguana, and answering the phone! We also watch him help the building's superintendent take out the trash. All the while we hear the sound of fireworks going off in the background, as it's some kind of holiday in the country. Initially it sounded like gunfire. But no, just fireworks.

After an hour, it's over. This is hardly a testament to human creativity. It's an attempt to milk cash out of the cinephiles around the world who have championed Panahi's cause. This will probably top my Worst of 2012 List.
March 7, 2012
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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