No One Knows About Persian Cats (Les Chats Persans) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

No One Knows About Persian Cats (Les Chats Persans) Reviews

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March 26, 2015
An appealing cast of aspiring young musicians ostensibly play themselves in this fascinating 2009 drama at danger to themselves. It's funny while being a powerful tribute to the courage of Iran's underground musicians. Unfortunately, it doesn't end well.
August 7, 2014
love the film's title and as someone who had a persian cat for 14 years so yes i DO know about persian cats!
June 20, 2014
c est plus un documentaire qu'un film
January 12, 2014
Sad and funny; makes quite a statement.
½ April 25, 2013
A jarring ending undermines the message of the entire film.
March 12, 2013
This a movie to see. Not because it is action packed or a great story but because it shows that the same drive for artistic expression exists everywhere. This film shows a culture very different from my own and the extreme rules they are under in order to even get a permit to perform. I was moved by the efforts the musicians go through to try and get out and publicly perform. The ending could have been different. Thought it was a bit dramatic for this piece. The music is outstanding and I plan to purchase the soundtrack.
½ December 5, 2012
There's much more to iranian underground music & the film doesn't really delve into its subject matter, It's short on story & character developement & it seems that it doesn't care & only wants to send a message, It features a showcase of talent with sequences of somehow frustrating daily life & althouth it tries not to feel forced or melodramatic it fails at times specially in its ending which is awful imo, Overall the film has its great moments & I respect the effort
November 29, 2012
Idea interessante che offre uno squarcio di vita a noi (o almeno a me) sconosciuto: il mondo iraniano.
Originale il metodo di inglobare le canzoni man mano che si susseguono i gruppi musicali provocando così un'alternanza di musica e scene. Particolarmente fastidiose le scene sfuocate e anche quelle un po' troppo rapide e ballerine (forse anche perchè ero in prima fila :-/).
Finale un po' drastico e drammatico, sembra quasi messo lì perchè il film già si dilungava troppo e non si sapeva come terminarlo.
Il doppiaggio poteva essere fatto un po' meglio: è come se la voce fosse completamente distaccata dalla scena (cosa che realmente è, essendo un doppiaggio, ma che di solito viene "mascherata" molto meglio...)
2 stelline e mezzo per lo svolgimento del film, un mezzo per il tema originale.
Consigliato? Sì, ma senza doverci spendere su 8 euro di ingresso.
September 11, 2012
First off, I love the movie title. Second, the music was decent and played throughout the film which was AWESOME. These characters in the film are very brave, you can get punished for almost anything in the middle east under islamic rule if what you're doing doesn't go by the koran. The filmmaker and crew themselves were extremely brave and for what came of it all I was very impressed just how much footage was captured in such an enforcement tight location. You sense within each character how much of themselves they want to express and show through music, self expression is a freedom in any form. It is taken all too lightly in some places, where it's so limiting in others. You can feel the underlying pessimism each character possesses, no matter how hidden it may be within. Optimism is also apparent but because of how things are in Iran, there will always be an underlying "what if."
½ August 12, 2012
A well-meaning yet unoriginal film. Its story of musicians struggling under the regime in Iran has been partly dealed with in the far superior "Persepolis", while the global message of freedom can be seen being conveyed in a lot of films and mostly in a better way. Not much on offer here, then.
½ August 9, 2012
Rebel Filmmaking About Rebel Music

Arguably, the story of making this film is far more interesting than the film itself. It was filmed in under three weeks, constantly hiding from the Iranian police. The filmmakers literally left the country after they finished, because this movie does not exactly paint Iran in the best light. Certainly it doesn't completely espouse noble Muslim principles. After all, just about every character in the movie is breaking the law and doesn't mind even a little. They are trying to live their lives the way they want to and play the music they want to, and the Iranian government isn't going for it. We're talking about a society so distanced from the one we know that a character refers to 50 Cent and Madonna as "indie rock." And the movie knows that it's funny. This is not exactly the view of the Islamic Republic of Iran that they want outsiders to have. But that's okay, because I'm an American woman, and they don't want anything to do with me at all.

Ashkan (Ashkan Koshanejad) and Negar (Negar Shaghaghi) have an indie rock band. They're actually not bad in a mid-2000s kind of way, and they want to get out of the country and play a concert in London. However, that is essentially not possible unless they find their way through the depths of the Iranian black market. (One hesitates to call the system "byzantine"!) They meet up with Nader (Hamed Behdad), a promoter or something, who promises to get them out of the country. They are not the only ones looking to get out, though there are also plenty of people who have no problem with staying in Iran, provided they're allowed to play their music. The band, "Take It Easy Hospital," needs two passports and five visas to get out. So they visit a little old forger, the cutest character in the movie but whose name I don't know. They also meet up with all sorts of other secret bands throughout Tehran as they get ready to leave the country.

Actually, the bands are the best part of this movie. In some ways, this would have done better as a documentary about the underground music scene of Tehran. Since Take It Easy Hospital sings in English, they would have been indistinguishable from many groups playing on college radio stations around the country ten years ago. We get Iranian heavy metal and Iranian rap. A very Leonard Cohen-y group with a snarling, Tom Waits-ish singer. Probably most of the music these people play comes from styles they only encountered from music smuggled into the country and sold on the black market, but however they found it, this was music which spoke to them, and they adopted the styles for their own. They speak of their fondness and frustration, their love of the city and their hatred of the oppression. It's a wide range of music, and most of it is very good. Even when I don't quite like the genre, the songs in this movie are good examples of it. There's also an adorable sequence with small children playing air guitar.

It is difficult for me to find information about what has happened to these people since 2009. Okay, the film won a prize at Cannes. But the actual people in the movie are almost all playing themselves, and being in this movie put them in danger. Ashkan spent three weeks in an Iranian prison before the filming of this, "sleeping next to a serial killer." The kind of party where you play Iranian techno is not the kind of party the authorities much want you to be having. The movie was filmed without a permit; well, they wouldn't have gotten a permit for making a movie like this. This is an extremely risky film made under extremely difficult circumstances, and taking that into consideration, this is a very good movie indeed. But I want to know what happened next, and because these people are Iranian, it seems that the media I can access in English--because, you know, I don't speak Farsi--has no interest in telling me the musicians' fates. If, indeed, we know them, I guess.

It seems, at first blush, perplexing that so much fuss is being made over just wanting to make music. However, the history of music is full of occasions wherein it has more of an influence than anyone could possibly imagine. The title refers to the fact that pet cats are, for reasons I do not know, illegal in Iran. (A symbol of the monarchy? I guess?) However, people do still have them, and in general, people turn a blind eye. Similarly, no one can miss that heavy metal band. (Some of the funniest bits in the movie are the cows' reactions.) However, as long as they're just practicing in a cowshed somewhere, the government doesn't interfere. Though maybe they should have, given that the entire band comes down with hepatitis. The musicians think of themselves as innocent, and on an individual basis, they are. But if you are trying to control the hearts and minds of a population, one of the most important things to control is the music.
½ July 28, 2012
This film often feels like a documentary interspersed with music videos, but that's part actually what makes it enjoyable, because it feels fresh and the simplicity of the film gives you a chance to process the harsh realities of what's being presented to you. I really liked watching the two main bandmates, especially Negar, because she was so earnest.
July 7, 2012
Great music, great humor, great movie!
June 22, 2012
Hard to believe that this was shot in guerrilla-style going by the production standards. Quite an impressive docudrama on the repressed creativity of Iran's underground musicians.
May 17, 2012
Vay sorpresa y que buena es.
½ February 24, 2012
A vehicle for showcasing the variety of the underground music culture in Iran, it has its flaws, but it is also very effective as a story of quiet everyday rebellion against an oppressive state.
½ January 27, 2012
No One Knows About Persian Cats
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2012
Since music was first invented, young people have wanted to put on a show. That's no less true in the spirited movie, "No One Knows about Persian Cats," which is based on real incidents. The only problem for the protagonists is that they live in Tehran where such happenings are seriously frowned upon and the musicians face jail time if caught. So, Negar(Negar Shaghaghi) and Askhan(Ashkan Koshanejad) want out, preferably to London but Ashkan is lacking a passport. So, they go to Nader(Hamed Behdad), a fixer/bootlegger who not only finds them a guitarist but also a counterfeiter. Now, they could also use another woman singer since the rules forbid Negar from being the only female singer in a band for a concert they are planning to put on to raise the necessary funds.

They are not the only musicians affected as the movie tours the Tehran music scene which is mostly literally underground, as the musicians find creative places to practice(But, oh, those poor cows!), with music that ranges from traditional to heavy metal to rap. While I ordinarily find music videos in films to be beyond cliche, here it works well.(The highlight here is the one for a rap song called "A City Where Everything You See Entices You.") Even though "No One Knows about Persian Cats" can be a little pedantic and overstated at times in railing against the injustices of the system(That probably explains the scene with the dog.), it still has plenty to say about the post-revolutionary generation. They are simply trying to express themselves, not rebelling necessarily(although Nader has a photo of Marlon Brando from "The Wild One" on his wall), with ironically western influences, and who as the film states, the country is in danger of losing.
December 24, 2011
Un portait de la jeunesse iranienne en dehors des sentiers battus, pleine d'energie et de vitalite.
Le film, tourne a l'arrache (apparemment sans autorisation), met en scene d'authentiques jeunes musiciens de la scene indie de Teheran. Le resultat est a l'avenant: parfois naif, mais toujours intéressant.
December 5, 2011
Terrific Iranian movie from the director of Turtles Can Fly and A Time For Drunken Horses. This would be Iran's 99% for sure.
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