No One Knows About Persian Cats (2009)

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No One Knows About Persian Cats (2009)

My best friend and I created a band once. We were seven years old, called ourselves The Hawaiian Hula Girls and had no musical experience to speak of. We were never destined for stardom but no one ever told us we couldn't at least try. No one held us back from our Beach Boys dreams on countless rainy Vancouver afternoons. 

There's a time for censorship and there's time for freedom. You wouldn't let a four-year old child watch Game of Thrones. You probably wouldn't let that same kid play Call of Duty. You wouldn’t let adults express themselves through the escape of music…? If you're in Iran, probably not. No One Know About Persian Cats explores the secretive world of underground music aficionados, trying to have it all in the face of censorship and oppression. Their short-term goal? Get to Europe. Their long-term goal? Be able to play whatever they want, when they want. Maybe not an outlandish suggestion for an audience lucky enough to have been born in a relatively uncensored world, but to these twenty-somethings, the freedom of musical expression is everything. 

The spot light is shone Negar and Ashkan, a talented duo straight outta prison and willing to risk it all again to start a band. Problems of money and time and rehearsals arise, nothing out of the ordinary for a starter group just finding its legs. But the difference is that this is Iran. And this is Indie-Rock. And the two make for a highly illegal concoction. Director Bahman Ghobadi took some serious risks as well in making this film, considering the strict censorship laws. Shot primarily in the streets or in dark, make-shift locations, Ghobadi very much mirrors the underground nature of the music being accomplished. That being said, Persian Cats is wonderful as a rudimentary work, but what it craves is a stricter creative guidance. Understandably the footage obtained is remarkable considering the on-the-fly, covert kind of operation Ghobadi had to assume under the conditions, but would it kill him to do a voiceover? When you're blurring the line between documentary and fiction, the least you can do is create some kind of narrative cohesiveness. 

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