Review: "Persian Cats" is an engaging portrait of creative minds

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 3, 2010 - 3:29 PM

Documenting the Iranian indie rock scene.

In Iran, where free speech and blasphemy are against the law, playing rock 'n' roll is likely to get you thrown in jail or flogged. It's amazing, then, that this vibrant, joyous ode to Iranian indie rock was ever shot. Director Bahman Ghobadi's lighthearted drama "No One Knows About Persian Cats" -- a quasi-documentary fiction that he wrote with Hossein Mortezaeiyan and recently released journalist Roxana Saberi -- follows a band seeking official permission to play in Europe. Interpreting the murky censorship laws is near-impossible, the search for new band members is a citywide scavenger hunt, and finding a practice space requires levels of secrecy worthy of the French Resistance. They find a fixer who promises the needed work permits and visas, and vow to play one last gig before they leave Teheran, but will the authorities intervene? The filmmakers cast musicians as themselves, and they are natural entertainers. The film, a prizewinner at Cannes, looks great and sounds stupendous. This is no dry news report but a vibrant, engaging portrait of a generation bursting with repressed creativity.

★★★ 1/2 OUT OF FOUR STARS

Unrated by the MPAA; suitable for all audiences. In subtitled Persian and English.

Where: Lagoon.

COLIN COVERT

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