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No One Knows about Persian Cats [DVD] 
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Based on real events, the film follows two young musicians, Negar and Ashkan, who are promised a gig in London and embark on a frantic mission to assemble a backing band. The couple have recently served prison terms for breaching the ban on Western and decadent music , and for Negar, these activities are particularly dangerous: as a female musician, unauthorised public performances can carry savage penalties. Now, they face a search for the elusive and costly paperwork that will permit them to leave for Europe. Teaming up with promoter and bootlegger Nader, their search takes them into Tehran and a vibrant underground culture of rappers, rockers, electro-artists and singer-songwriters who risk arrest to perform Western songs overlaid with their own politicised lyrics. But as Negar and Ashkan try to convince others to follow their lead, the risks that they are taking become all too apparent.
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The theme is youth and we are offered a tour de force of the experiences of different groups of musicians expressing their youth, playing contemporary music.
The central focus is a young man and his friend who desire to travel to London to play their music, dissatisfaction is his lot, it's quite sad. We are offered a tour of the underground music scene of Tehran with a friend of the young man, searching for support for the journey, seeking musicians who might join with the discontent, but we find satisfied musicians, in cow sheds, on construction sites, in attics, happily doing what they do, very well, with no desire to go anywhere other than where they are, so satisifed are they with their lot and hardly surprising, the view of Tehran is a privilege, what a beautiful place and how astonishingly beautiful are the people we meet.
The music kinda reminds me of early Indie music, but without the painful discontent, aside from the core protagonists, who seek nothing more than to leave Tehran it seems.
My favourite scene is on a building site, with a rapper who speaks with great satisfaction and worthy pride of his love for Tehran and it's diversity, he says clearly he has no desire to leave, he has everything where he is, it's a great scene and the movie all in all is a great teen movie, with good music and a host of beautiful young people who have the most immaculate manners, exhibiting dignity and respectful countenance naturally.
The music is good, sweet and pure, kinda reminding me of the old Cherry Red Records sounds, with of course a difference, but the same gentle goodness.
What strikes the viewer immediately when watching No One Knows Persian Cats is not only how restrictive the laws are in Iran about the performance of music, but the impact such tight controls have on the general population. Previous Ghobadi films Marooned in Iraq and Half Moon certainly brought to attention the absurd prohibition placed on women singing in public, as well as the lengths that some people will go to in order to exercise their freedom of expression in this most traditional, fundamental and personal way. Music as a form of expression is perhaps even more important to young people and, consequently, it's even more shocking to western eyes to see the lengths that young, talented musicians have to go to in order to make modern music - western music deemed decadent and anti-Islamic to the authorities - have it distributed secretly and find a place to practice and perform with the threat of quite serious flogging and several months imprisonment hanging over them if they are discovered or denounced by neighbours.
No One Knows About Persian Cats consequently is a highly dynamic, thrilling and enlightening experience, Ghobadi's camera following the progress of the Negar/Ashkan duo as they are given a guided tour of Tehran's underground rock, pop, rap and indie music scene by Nader, a dodgy bootlegger who has offered to help them in their endeavours, who they aren't sure they can trust. The director enlivens the situation between accounts of imprisonment and persecution - many undoubtedly true stories related by the people concerned - with music-video style sequences that accompany the performances, placing them very much within the context of life in a very unusual city. Ghobadi's film is however about much more than the boy/girl duo of Ashkan and Negar struggling with the red-tape of obtaining visas and the difficulties of gathering together a couple of backing musicians at short notice - the film in itself is a direct challenge to the authorities, a brave one but a necessary one that shows not only the talent that is being denied the opportunity to flourish, but the extreme consequences of the denial of such fundamental principles of freedom of expression.
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