Movie Diary 1/31/2023

No Bears (Jafar Panahi, 2022). Consistently fascinating film about a director named Panahi, exiled to an Iranian border town and played by Panahi himself, who becomes involved in a family dispute with the locals. It moves seamlessly from droll rural comedy to the most serious possible situation, but it remains rather mysterious throughout. There’s a scene where Panahi comes to the national border at night, a spot where refugees go, and when someone tells him he’s stepped over the invisible borderline, he draws back as though he stepped on fire. We’re never merely watching a story with this movie; we’re always being cued to see the world in a fresh way.


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