Rent No Bears (2022)

3.7 of 5 from 85 ratings
1h 46min
Rent No Bears (aka Khers Nist) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
"No Bears" is the outstanding new film from acclaimed Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi. In the film Panahi plays himself, a filmmaker trying to direct a cast and crew in Turkey, who is forced to remain in an Iranian village close to the border. As his actors perform their own story of attempted escape to Europe, Panahi finds himself coming up against suspicion and local traditions in the village where he is staying. Panahi's latest film is a testimony to how artistry and protest can find inspiration in the very restrictions that he and other creative voices face.
Actors:
, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobasheri, Bakhtiyar Panjeei, Mina Kavani, , Reza Heydari, Javad Siyahi, Yousef Soleymani, Amir Davari, Darya Alei, Rahim Abbasi, Iman Bazyar, , Ehsan Ahmad Khanpour, Mina Khosrovani, Sinan Yusufoglu
Directors:
Producers:
Jafar Panahi
Writers:
Jafar Panahi
Aka:
Khers Nist
Genres:
Drama, Romance
Countries:
Iran
BBFC:
Release Date:
Not released
Run Time:
106 minutes
Languages:
Persian
Subtitles:
None
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Colour:
Colour
BBFC:
Release Date:
27/03/2023
Run Time:
106 minutes
Languages:
Persian Dolby Digital 2.0, Persian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:
English, English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B

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Reviews (2) of No Bears

Interesting - No Bears review by sb

Spoiler Alert
15/04/2023

FILM & REVIEW Really interesting and unusual film from Iranian film maker Jafar Panahi. It opens outside a cafe where a couple are arguing over fake passports they intend to use to escape the country. A voice shouts cut! and the camera pans back to reveal Panahi himself watching events on a laptop connected to a mobile signal. The filming is taking place over the border in Turkey as Panahi is banned from leaving Iran. He is staying in remote village near the border and the offer to be smuggled out is there but he doesn’t take it. He also gets involved in a local dispute over a rivalry between two men and a local girl. He is accused of taking a picture of the non betrothed couple but is adamant that he has no such thing. It’s also revealed that the apparent fictitious film he is remotely directing is more of a staged documentary where the couple are genuinely desperate for a new life and the camera follows them as thing come apart. So it’s a kinda film within a film without it being made clear where the lines between fact and fiction are drawn…..the whole process remains blurred. Panahi has long been a guerrilla film-maker in Iran but his films achieve widespread acclaim abroad much to the annoyance of the state. To give added poignancy to this the film won an award at Cannes but the director couldn’t attend having been sentenced to 6 years in prison on a trumped up charge of anti state propaganda….. Well worth a look - 4/5

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Another gem from Panahi - No Bears review by PD

Spoiler Alert
26/04/2023

Given his recent release from jail after being arrested last July (2022), Jafar Panahi's latest offering undoubtedly has a heightened impact as a result, but this artful telling of parallel narratives that intersect with Panahi facing the cost to himself and others of making films under an oppressive regime — completed before his arrest — would be a forceful statement even without the limits imposed on his freedom.

Deceptively simple at first, and then accumulating increasingly complex layers by almost imperceptible degrees, 'No Bears' deals with borders both physical and spiritual, with the divide between tradition and modernity, and the world of difference between Tehran and Iran’s rural backwaters. A character says at one point that it’s OK to lie if it’s in the service of peacekeeping; in the same way, the fear of wild animals in the title is revealed to be an unfounded superstition, designed to keep people in their place. But the film asks what do those restrictions really achieve and why do we give them such power.

While Panahi tries to keep a low profile to avoid being identified and reported to the authorities, he’s drawn into village politics as the elders descend to request a photograph he supposedly took of a young couple. As the situation escalates, the friction around him builds where once there was a welcoming curiosity. Meanwhile, there's a delicate reminder of how black-market traffic is the only commerce available to the village since the drought killed off farming. In a brief but memorable scene, Panahi jumps back as if on a rumbling fault line when he learns that the patch of dirt on which he’s standing is the invisible frontier separating Iran from Turkey. Thoughts sparked by that realisation are echoed in a film-within-a-film being played out before cameras in Turkey, with hesitancy prompted by questions about how much money is needed to survive in Europe, among other concerns. Late in the action, a character explodes in a stunning direct-to-camera rant about the frustration of spending ten years trying to get out of the country but being stuck there, forced to betray herself and others. The blurring of lines between scripted project and documentary is not new to Panahi, but it builds here with expert modulation to a shocking conclusion, whilst Panahi’s stoical presence at the centre of it all is rattled, forcing him to contemplate the repercussions of his work both to himself and to even his most guileless collaborators. The sobering final image resonates with the unspoken cry of an artist exiled in his own homeland, saying, “Enough.” Whether that means escaping the forces that would control him or seizing his creative liberty in more insurgent ways is the question that lingers. The one remaining certainty is that Panahi is among the world’s great filmmakers refusing to be silenced by authoritarian rule. Stirring stuff.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

No Bears (aka Khers Nist) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Jafar Panahi has to be one of the most daring filmmakers for placing himself front and center for this relatively controversial picture. He plays himself in a story about a director trying to film a docudrama about a married couple fleeing Iran. He directs from a distance to avoid the dangers of being found out while residing in a remote village on Turkey’s border. But his cover won’t remain for too long when he becomes drawn into the conflict of another marriage.

Panahi plays a contemplative and conflicted observer in the provocative events that follow. In addition to the problems of filming an escape from Iran, he also has a crucial piece of evidence in a local dispute of an arranged marriage. While snapping pictures around the area, he captures one photo that may prove an affair. Should that photo be shown to the residence, it would make all hell loose. The photo depicts the young woman Gozal with her boyfriend Solduz, who is supposed to be getting married to Jacob. It’s a love triangle that Pahani tries not to get involved with, despite how much the village tries to force his hand and how much Solduz stresses he’s experiencing true love that arranged marriages shouldn’t bind.

From this description, No Bears might sound like a romantic drama, and it certainly has those elements. In truth, it’s more of a picture of the societal barriers that limit our identity. The combination of governmental abuse and traditional values keeps the desperate from traveling where they want and loving who they love. One cannot simply ignore these topics when they’re right next door. The more time Panahi distances himself from all this, the more dangerous the situation becomes.

As an independent Iranian production, Panahi’s direction is stellar. He lets the camera linger and follow the village and holds the takes for the footage being captured in his movie within the movie. This adds an air of realism and gives a full scope of the environment that plays a heavy role. Nowhere is the cinematography more meaningful than during a night drive in which Panahi is taken by a friend on a trip to the border. When hearing about the dangers of bears, he is told it’s a myth, a lie meant to scare people from realizing how easy it would be to cross a border. Because when Panahi stumbles to the borderline and has to be told where he is standing, the social construct of it all is laid bare. The divisions and feuds we create are manufactured by those who want us to remain fearful and docile. Borders and traditional marriages are not God's will; we invented them and can just as easily deny them if we’re willing to question them.

Playing in with the themes of the film was Panahi’s arrest in the same year the movie was released. In 2022, he was arrested by the Iranian government for expressing his views on the horrid police brutality of the country. His arrest made him unable to attend the film’s premiere at the 79th Venice Film Festival, which almost wouldn’t happen if not for the many filmmakers standing alongside Panahi’s beliefs. Thankfully, Panahi was released from prison after a hunger strike in February of 2023. It’s a real-life story that reflects the film’s powerful ending about how this man stayed and fought despite being given a chance to keep his head low. This is some powerful filmmaking from a remarkable director who is vocal and vicious, daring to make the most provocative of films as an Iranian with guts.

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