This Is Not a Film Image

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 32 Ratings

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  • Summary: This clandestine documentary, shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, depicts the day-to-day life of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment. While appealing his sentence – six years in prison and a 20 year ban from filmmaking – Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his
    plight with Mirtahmasb and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking. (Palisades Tartan)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Phil Contrino
    Feb 29, 2012
    This Is Not A Film and "A Separation" masterfully show Iranians that are full of the same passions, concerns and desires as the rest of the world-an incredibly important accomplishment now that the drumbeat to war grows louder each day.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 1, 2012
    How did Mr. Panahi do this? I'm at a bit of a loss to explain, to tell you the truth, since my job is to review movies, and this, obviously, is something different: a masterpiece in a form that does not yet exist.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    May 3, 2012
    In short, This Is Not a Film is the world within an apartment, and it is quietly devastating.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Feb 27, 2012
    Standing at his balcony, filming the revelry with his iPhone, he seems to be saying that directing is more defiant an act than lighting a firecracker or two. Truth be told, Panahi's poignant "Film" is infinitely more explosive.
  5. Reviewed by: Phil Coldiron
    Feb 27, 2012
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Mar 19, 2012
    Drawing on revealing clips from Panahi's previous films, TINAF reveals not only the realities of artistic censorship, but its firework-laden finale shows how cinema thrives on spontaneity.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Mar 2, 2012
    So there is courage and cheekiness here. What there is not is a story, or much insight or even anger; anyone expecting an indictment of Iran will be sorely disappointed.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 4, 2012
    This defiant piece of work by Pahahi is definitely not a film, it is something unlike any other movie/documentary I've ever seen. It is quite a revolutionary piece of work, being filmed partly on an iPhone, and having no distinct plot of his government could find fault with. While Pahahi does wish he could document his last screenplay before he was banned, that is not the main focus of the work. Simply put, the work shows a day in the life of a brilliant filmmaker who is vastly under-appreciated by his own government. Panahi invites you into his home, and more importantly, into the world of his feelings. You can feel his sense of longing, his sense of frustration, his sense of defiance. The work is not all sad either. There are many seemingly normal things that go on as he and his friend document his life that offer some comic relief. This work is testament to how brave the Iranian people are. Panahi and his friend know that if this "not a film" is discovered, then they will be in even bigger trouble, but that does not deter them. The fact that the "not a film" was smuggled out of Iran through a cake speaks volumes to their dedication of secretly rebelling against an unfriendly government. One can only hope that Panahi is freed. Expand
  2. Jun 26, 2012
    I liked this movie because it sets the bar high as far as what it's trying to say. The metaphors here are terrific. The movie is very good, but has a few flaws in my eyes. I'm not a fanatic against foul language, but this movie contains about 50 more F bombs than needed. I think it would have had a better impact if the main character of Pete was a little more "normal" in his cynical nature. I'm not talking about 'It's A Wonderful Life' normal, but something short of the vile person he is. However, the flick is great in it's depiction of man's frustration with today's society. It asks," what is it all leading up to?" I love how God is depicted. Great acting by Peter Coyote. Very clever. It makes you think about the future of mankind! Collapse
  3. Mar 11, 2013
    A late addition to the Cannes 2011 programme after being smuggled into France inside a cake, Iranian director Jafar Panahi's "This is Not a Film" (2011) is by no means your average political documentary. The 75-minute piece, shot partially on an iPhone, captures the day-to-day life of Panahi during a state-imposed house arrest in his Tehran apartment as he appeals a six year prison sentence and 20 year filmmaking ban for his opposition to the 2011 Iranian elections.

    Here in the Western world, our access to information, democratic governments, and human rights are taken for granted. Panahi and Mirtahmasb are putting their lives on the line to tell the stories they feel they must tell, in the hope that, one day, their nation will be able to have the same sort of pro-democratic freedom as the rest of us. Gripping entertainment. Little by little "This Is Not a Film" leads to a final scene of overwhelming power. Anyone interested in cinema and/or Iran owes it to themselves to become familiar with this "not" film.

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