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'Saying things without appearing to have said them': Politics and protest in Jafar Panahi's This Is Not a Film (2011)

journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Trent Griffiths
This article considers how Jafar Panahi's This Is Not a Film represents an artivist intervention in the landscape of Iranian censorship, working as both a form of personal testimony and of political protest in the act of its making. The (not)film, made while Panahi was under house arrest and banned from film-making and secreted out of Iran for release at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, is structured as a day-in-the-life video diary of Panahi's experience of house arrest, focusing on the personal frustrations and everyday consequences of living as a creative artist in an authoritarian society. Turning the camera on himself, Panahi self-reflexively considers what constitutes a film-maker and what constitutes a film, exploiting the blurred line between his presence in the frame as a (censored) author and as a (political) subject to make a film while simultaneously disavowing his authorial hand. Considered in terms of Hamid Naficy's analysis of contemporary Iranian films 'saying things without appearing to have said them', this article argues that Panahi's seemingly simple video diary enacts both a testimony of his specific experience of censorship and a protest against the terms of his sentence, forcefully linking personal experience and social politics through the act of film-making.

History

Journal

Studies in Documentary Film

Volume

9

Issue

1

Pagination

28 - 41

ISSN

1750-3280

eISSN

1750-3299

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Taylor & Francis

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