“This, obviously, is something different: a masterpiece in a form that does not yet exist.”
In an act that is both charmingly mischievous and fiercely defiant, Jafar Panahi, with the help of co-director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, turns the camera on himself to document a day-in-the-life of the director under house arrest. Banned from filmmaking for 20 years, Panahi circumvents his ban by becoming the subject of the film, and instead of completing his unfinished film, he resorts to talking through the screenplay.
Within weeks of being filmed, This is Not a Film is reported to have been smuggled out of Iran on a USB drive hidden inside a cake and was swiftly included in the Cannes Film Festival program as a very late addition. Although Panahi was unable to attend due to travel ban, his cinema seat was symbolically left empty. And in what can only be described as the most aptly awarded prize, Panahi won the Carrosse d’Or at Cannes that year, which is given to directors boasting “innovative qualities, courage and independent-mindedness of his or her work”.
Screening exclusive to ACMI