No Bears

Khers Nist

63rd TIFF: Greek Premiere

In this year’s Venice Biennale, an empty seat was left for Jafar Panahi at the festival press conference. Currently in jail, the Iranian director has spent the past 12 years in and out of house arrest, banned from traveling or making films outside Iran, and faced with numerous obstacles making films at home. That hasn’t stopped him from delivering a film full of his ideas and anxieties. No Bears portrays two parallel love stories. In both, the lovers are troubled by hidden, inevitable obstacles, the force of superstition, and the mechanics of power. A piece of inventive, illuminating autofiction becomes an act of resistance (as any other film of the director), by simply narrating a story of escape: a couple who lives in a village close to the porous Iranian-Azeri borders tries to flee to Paris with stolen passports, a film crew following them, a second young couple trying to escape a forced marriage and a village full of gossips. A self-reflective masterpiece that highlights what is truly at stake when defending one’s creative freedom.

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Jafar Panahi
Script: Jafar Panahi
Cinematography: Amin Jafari
Editing: Amir Etminan
Sound: Mohammadreza Delpak, Abdolreza Heydari, Iman Baziyar
Actors: Jafar Panahi, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobaseri, Bakhtiar Panjei, Mina Kavani
Producers: Jafar Panahi
Costumes: Leyla Siyahi, Ulker Chetinkaya, Sechil Kapar
Sets: Babak Jajaie Tabrizi
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: Iran
Production Year: 2022
Duration: 107΄
Contact: Celluloid Dreams
Awards/Distinctions: Special Jury Prize – Venice IFF 2022

Jafar Panahi

Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved international recognition with his feature film debut, The White Balloon (1995), premiering at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. The film won the Caméra d’Or that year. Panahi was quickly recognized as one of the most influential filmmakers in Iran. Although his films were often banned in his own country, he continued to receive international acclaim from film theorists and critics and won numerous awards, including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for The Mirror (1997), the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for The Circle (2000), the Un Certain Regard award for Crimson Gold at Cannes (2003) and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for Offside (2006). After several years of conflict with the Iranian government over the content of his films (including several short-term arrests), Panahi was arrested in March 2010 along with his wife, daughter, and 15 friends and later charged with propaganda against the Iranian government. Despite support from filmmakers, film organizations, and human rights organizations from around the world, in December 2010 Panahi was sentenced to a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on directing any movies, writing screenplays, or giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media. While awaiting the result of an appeal, he made This Is Not a Film (2011), a documentary feature in the form of a video diary, in spite of the legal ramifications of his arrest. It was smuggled out of Iran in a flash drive hidden inside a cake and shown at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.


1995 The White Balloon
1997 The Mirror
2000 The Circle
2003 Crimson Gold
2006 Offside
2011 This is Not a Film (co-direction)
2013 Closed Curtain (co-direction)
2015 Taxi Tehran
2018 3 Faces
2022 No Bears