Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No One Knows About Persian Cats (Rhoades)

“Persian Cats” Wanna Rock
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

My wife – an animal lover – was disappointed when she discovered that “No One Knows About Persian Cats” isn’t about cats. At least, not the feline variety.

Persia, as those of you who saw the recent “Prince of Persia” know, is the ancient name for Iran.
A country of many repressions, it’s true that in Iran there is a ban on cats and dogs in public. (Even Key West got its act together and recently approved dogs dining with their owners at outdoor restaurants.)

However, this semi-documentary by Kurdish-Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi is about another repression: Iran’s opposition to secular music.

No, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn’t rock.

Even so, Tehran has an active underground music scene that enjoys rock, hip-hop, heavy metal, and jazz. So you might call this an underground film. It was co-written by Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-Japanese-American journalist who was imprisoned in Iran last year on espionage charges.

The story tells us about a young couple who want to flee the country so they can start a band. We follow them as they try to convince other musicians to come with them.

Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad of the alt-rock group Take It Easy Hospital play characters very much like themselves. Just released from prison, they hire a fast-talking huckster named Nader (Hamed Behdad) to help them get phony documents so they can go to Europe. But first, they want to give a farewell performance.

“No One Knows About Persian Cats” (or “Kasi az Gorbehaye Irani Khabar Nadareh” in the film’s native language) is now playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Director Ghobadi is best known for “Marooned in Iraq,” a film that explored the plight of female musicians. You see, women are banned from performing music in Iran, even traditional Persian music, in front of mixed-gender audiences.

Guess Madonna’s next worldwide tour won’t include a stopover in Tehran.
[from SolaresHill]

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