In its way, this effort is both a forceful assertion of the most stifling brand of auteurism and a radical reconfiguration of its political potential.
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The movie is also about a man without fear. It is often funny and stirring, but as you are watching you know what the game will lead to; dictatorships are not known for their sense of humor. [5 March 2012, p. 86]
In totalitarian societies, artists have found all sorts of ways - some brilliantly imaginative - to disguise their political protest, but Panahi has no subterfuges left. This Is Not a Film ends with a whimper that is a bang. He must be freed.
Sure it is - and a great one at that.
Deft and ironic, mixing banal reality with poignant metaphor in a typically Iranian style.
This is a great film, and a triumph of creativity and courage over repression.
In Panahi's case, he is insuperably handicapped by his current constraints. And yet, despite everything, here is This Is Not a Film, which is emphatically a film – and an extraordinary one.
Pleasing mainly just as a message-in-a-bottle from a restless, persecuted artist-that is, until the amazing closing shot, which brings the volatility of post-Green Revolution Iran home with unforgettable force.