This Is Not a Film (2012)

This Is Not a Film



Critic 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.

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 … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By: ,
Written By: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Jafar Panahi
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 26, 2013
Box Office: $63.1k
Palisades Tartan - Official Site


as Jafar Panahi

as Mojtaba Mirtahmasb

News & Interviews for This Is Not a Film

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Critic Reviews for This Is Not a Film

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (31)

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

Full Review… | June 18, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

Not a conventional film, certainly, but a powerful and important statement.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
New York Post
Top Critic

Truly and defiantly extraordinary in its own quiet way.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

This may not be a film, but it's a moving statement of defiance and despair.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's a cry from the heart of an artist compelled to create, tell stories and respond to hostile, confounding realities.

Full Review… | May 18, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for This Is Not a Film


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.

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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