This Is Not a Film

Critics Consensus

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.



Reviews Counted: 98

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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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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 filmmaking. -- (C) Palisades Tartan

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Jafar Panahi
as Jafar Panahi
Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
as Mojtaba Mirtahmasb

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Critic Reviews for This Is Not a Film

All Critics (98) | Top Critics (37)

Audience Reviews for This Is Not a Film

Under house arrest, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi creates a powerful humanist manifesto against censorship and lack of freedom of speech in his country. Full review on filmotrope. com

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

The mere premise of "This is Not a Film" is extraordinary. Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was sentenced to six years of a suspended jail sentence and banned from making any films for twenty years. In a pure form of protest Panahi had a cameraman film his life, while he was stuck in his home trying to fight this extreme form of censorship, and still having a pure nationalistic love for his country. Without that information watching the film seems a bit dull. Panahi eats breakfast, talks to his attorney, and watches some of his films, while feeding his iguana. In the midst of these mundane activities, Panahi almost loses his cameraman at a checkpoint, Iran's fires burn in the streets, and his family has left. It's tense throughout, scary even, and though he is not allowed to film anything, he takes up a camera, a clear violation of the terms of his suspended sentence and ban. Though nothing really happens in this film, everything happens in this film. To even get it to Cannes, Panahi put the film on a flash drive, baked in a cake, and sent it through customs. If there's any true form of protest to the film, it's that, which makes Panahi's actions that much more impressive and inspiring. This is a film to watch in order to understand the complexities of Iran's forms of censorships, and to understand the real life turmoil of Panahi.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

This Is Not a Film, is a scream of help.

Lucas Martins
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!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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