After months of hype and enthusiastic reviews, Jafar Panahi‘s controversial, reportedly heartbreaking documentary This Is Not a Film has received its first trailer (and poster) from Apple. The preview makes it look like powerful stuff, but while I’d encourage everyone to inform themselves about the film and its main subject — not just Panahi himself, but his sickening treatment by the Iranian government — I’m not sure if I should’ve seen this trailer before checking out the final result. (Which I’ll be doing twenty days from now, as a matter of fact.)
Even these mere snatches of footage, shot in small spaces by Panahi and co-director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, feel like… pieces without a whole, if you will — and it’s not like they really need to sell “moments” to get audiences on board, anyway. You want to get excited? Just go ahead and listen to this podcast, in which David Ehrlich — a man of serious taste — calls it one of the best films of all-time. I don’t need to know anything else before going in.
Watch it below:
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.
This Is Not a Film will open in limited release on February 29th.
Are you interested in this film, in terms of subject matter or content? What do you make of the trailer?
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