In his new virtuosic sleight-of-hand — completed shortly before his imprisonment in July 2022 — Jafar Panahi plays a fictionalized version of himself, who has relocated to a rural border town in Iran to remotely direct a new film in nearby Turkey. While there, he finds himself thrust in the middle of a local scandal, confronting the opposing pulls of tradition and progress.
Naser Hashemi, Reza Heydari, Mina Kavani
- "Legendary Iranian director Jafar Panahi (Closed Curtain, Taxi Tehran) explores ideas of freedom, and what they mean to two very different couples in No Bears, his latest film about life in the homeland that currently has him cruelly incarcerated."
- Time Out
- "If Panahi’s dissident films have to date been journeys of discovery about the subversively liberating, life-affirming power of cinema, NO BEARS is where he slams on the brakes."
- "Panahi’s stoical presence at the center of all this is rattled, forcing him to contemplate the repercussions of his work both to himself and to even his most guileless collaborators. The sobering final image resonates with the unspoken cry of an artist exiled in his own homeland, saying, “Enough.”"
- The Hollywood Reporter
- "A complex work of novelistic density, this is among the boldest and most accomplished statements from one of the world’s exemplary filmmakers."
- Screen Daily
- "If Panahi makes us understand Jafar, he also recognizes the rippling effect of his choices. Such is the dense and intricate layering of this deceptively simple film, which has a no-budget aesthetic and a novelistic sprawl."
- "Panahi is a director who has always mingled fact and fiction, and here the distinction is more addled than ever, so that by the time the final credits roll it’s not exactly clear what was staged and what was real."
- "The director’s bravery and ingenuity—by continuing to create new work, advocate for himself, and also entertain us—remains an utterly inspiring thing."
- The Film Stage
- "Like Panahi’s recent films This Is Not a Film and Taxi Tehran, this is powerful because of its control, subtlety and diplomatic finesse."
- The Guardian
- Venice Film Festival
- Chicago Int'l Film Festival
- Toronto Int'l Film Festival
- Busan Int'l Film Festival
- Reykjavik Int'l Film Festival
- Vienna Int'l Film Festival
- Valladolid Int'l Film Festival
- Bergen Int'l Film Festival
- São Paulo Int'l Film Festival
- Thessaloniki Int'l Film Festival
- Ljubljana Int'l Film Festival
- Marrakech Int'l Film Festival
- Int'l Film Festival of India, Goa
- Singapore Int'l Film Festival
- and more...