Iranian Film’s I have so far watched
- Nobody knows about Persian Cats, Bahman Ghobadi
- Offside, Jafar Panahi
Both of these film’s are neo-realistic, with ‘Offside’ being completely linear and adhering to the forms of minimalist neo-realist film making. ‘Nobody knows about Persian Cats’ has non-linear elements to it, especially the beginning which foreshadows the ending, but other than that they are pretty minimalistic, with dialogue occupying the film more than the action.
With ‘Nobody knows about Persian Cats’, I believe there is a relationship between film form and the messages present in this film. The mise-en-scene in this film always shows Tehran as this ‘poverty stricken place’, from my own perspective. I think this was intentional, he wanted to show Tehran for what it really was. In the rap ‘music video’ vignette, the song lyrics were a social/political commentary on the living conditions of the poor in Tehran, and the caste system (the gap between the poor and the rich).The mise-en -scene in this sequence go hand in hand with the lyrics, and accentuates a clear relationship between film form and messages in this film.
In this film, Negar, who is a woman is always seen wearing a head-scarf. This ties in with the religious message in this film, that women must wear head-protection to conceal their heads from other men. Even when she is at her home in the film, she is seen wearing a head scarf, because of the audience (us) watching her. We can say that the film strictly adheres to Shariah Islamic law, which is the governing law in Iran. In that sense, the film conforms to this law.
Also some of the visuals in this film, like to present Iran, specifically Tehran as this vast blustering city. There are several establishing shots from rooftops of Tehran, and just before the rap vignette, the rapper states to Nader “Cause what we have to say is for the heart of this city”. This is almost a glorification of Tehran, and commenting of the bad side of it at the same time.
At the last scene, the westernised party and the general mise-en-scene could be a comment on the rebellion in film, the separation of the people from the government. Party’s like this and drinking are strictly forbidden, as per Shariah Law, however this party is shown anyway. Perhaps to show that all has fallen down and there is no way out of this dilemma. Unless you jump out of a window.