Monday, April 26, 2010
No One Knows About Persian Cats
Sunday evening, just 2 hours out of Monteverdi's Vespers, I saw Bahman Ghobadi's enigmatically titled No One Knows About Persian Cats. In a departure from the rural village settings of his previous films, this one shows the furtive lives of urban musicians in Tehran. It is still a kind of road movie, though, as it follows 2 young indie rockers as they assemble a band & seek a way to get out of Iran. Along the way we get glimpses of creative lives that have been pushed underground. It is full of vivid characters & compelling musical performances in styles from traditional music to rap. It was hard not to be amused by the heavy metal band playing to cows that hate their music. A sense of urgency pervades the film, & there is no scene or detail without a point. Even though the tragic ending is telegraphed in the opening image, it still comes as a shock. It's such an indictment of contemporary Iranian society that I wonder how Mr. Ghobadi has managed to make his movies & stay out of prison in Iran. He may be one of the best film-makers working right now. The movie is currently playing at Opera Plaza Cinema, to enthusiastic Ghobadi fans, I hope.