No Bears No Bears No Bears No Bears No Bears No Bears

Jafar Panahis No Bears at Kosmorama

The award-winning Iranian film maker works under harsh condition and his home country goes through turbulent times. Despite censorship and all kind of restrictions he reach the audience world wide time and again with his films.

March 7. Jafar Panahi's last film No Bears screens at Kosmorama International Film Festival in Trondheim. Panahi is perhaps the most important film maker in our times, know for among others The White Balloon (1995), The Mirror (1997), The Circle (2000), Offside (2005) and Taxi Teheran (2015). His films have been harvesting prices at prestigious film festivals world wide. Besides being an artist who defies the limits of censorship, he has also shown great commitment to women's rights. In doing so Panahi shows that also men in Iran stands by the women so that voices behind "Women – Life Freedom!" are heard.

Until recently Jafar Panahi was confined in the Evin prison in Teheran since July 2022. Two days after he started a hunger strike he was released February 3th. This is of course good news, but the situation is still unpredictable. Panahi, his artist colleagues and journalists risk imprisonment for their activity. There has to be a strong reaction against the repression of Panahi, other artists and large parts of the population in Iran.

Panahi was arrested in 2010 allegedly for civil disobedience and propaganda against the harsh Iranian regime. Since then he has been banned from making films and leaving the country. For long periods he has been under house arrest, and last summer he became the victim of confinement once again. The reason this time was that he visited the prosecutor's office, enquiring about on of his colleagues, also convicted for "propaganda against the system" with his film.

Ten years ago, in 2013, Kosmorama screened Jafar Panahi's films Closed Curtains (2013) and This is not a film (2011). At the same time Panahi was serving a sentence from 2010 for "propaganda against the system". He was more or less in house arrest, denied to travel abroad and forbidden to make films for 20 years. Panahi's answer was This is Not a Film. At Kosmorama in 2013 there was in addition an Iran Symposium about censorship, freedom of speech and the situation for women in Iran. It is very sad and disturbing that the development has not reached further.

Despite new restrictions Jafar Panahi managed to make No Bears (2022) which received an award at Venice International Film Festival in 2022 and is critically acclaimed. It is a strong film which through allegories and symbolism criticizes the authorities and conservative social structures in his home country. The best way to show Panahi your support is to go and watch his film.

We must not forget that this is happening towards a backcloth where humane demands were met with violence and executions. The killing of 22 years old Masha Amini at the hand of Iran's moral police led to powerful, but legitimate protests, which again were met with more brutal violence, imprisonments and executions.

Kosmorama International Film Festival strongly detest this repression and align ourselves with the growing number of film workers world wide who demand that this must come to an end.

Panahi er kanskje den viktigste iranske filmskaperen i vår samtid, kjent for filmer som blant annet Den hvite ballongen (1995), Speilet (1997), Sirkelen (2000), Offside (2005), og Taxi Teheran (2015). Han ble arrestert i 2010 for påstått sivil ulydighet og propaganda mot det strenge iranske regimet. Siden har han vært bannlyst fra å lage filmer og å forlate landet. I lange perioder har han vært i husarrest, og i fjor sommer ble han igjen arrestert og satt fengslet fram til han inneldet en sultestreik, hvorpå han ble løslatt 3. februar.

No Bears følger i de brilliante fotsporene til Panahis filmografi. Den vant fortjent juryens spesialpris under filmfestivalen i Venezia, samt både hovedprisen og æresprisen til Film fra Sør her i Norge.

Nylig ble han nominert til Nobels fredspris for sitt arbeid. I begrunnelsen heter det:

"Det å gi Nobelprisen til Panahi er ikke kun en belønning av hans innsats, men også en belønning til alle iranske filmskapere som har bidratt til frihetskampen som pågår i Iran. Det er også en støtteerklæring til kampen for demokrati og grunnleggende menneskerettigheter i Iran."