Iran 2022, 107 min, Dir: Jafar Panahi
Persian, Azerbaijani, & Turkish with subtitles
Jafar Panahi continues to push against the boundaries of the medium with his latest film, involving two parallel love stories—thwarted by hidden, inevitable obstacles, the force of superstition, and the mechanics of power—and the dire consequences that can bubble up out of seemingly insignificant artistic pursuits.
Through parallel narrative trajectories, Panahi considers the repercussions for people who participate in his work, willingly or not, in a thoughtful and engaging meta-commentary that fans of his previous films will appreciate. Faced with so many challenges in his homeland, No Bears finds Panahi reflecting on his inability to leave his country, even if it might be as easy as stepping over an invisible line, somewhere on a stony hill, in the dark of night. – Jane Schoettle, TIFF