A young girl leaves school and discovers that her mother is not outside waiting. She boards a bus, but realizes that she has gone the wrong way. Suddenly the actress announces “I don’t want to play this part anymore!” From the director of award-winning The White Balloon and The Circle.
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Regardless of whether the break was scripted or real, there's something in Panahi's work that attracts me. He's revising his own methods of getting at truth over and over again - a quality which shines through especially in This Is Not A Film.
'The Mirror' starts off promising: the girl is charismatic, introspective, and bright, and the film's direction and shooting is patient and thoughtful. Then, in an unusual move caused by her, its feel changes and the film becomes a true portrait of the child, upset and proud, and her quest to find home.
The film is a huge cheat and as such felt inauthentic; just a second-hand deconstruction in the same tradition of masters Makhmalbaf and Kiarostami. The little girl is hugely charismatic and carries the film (more so during the conventional first half), but the concept is flimsy. It's entertaining and says a lot about responsibility, community and personal freedom, but for me never became more than just academic.
As always Panahi makes a film about Iranian society, this time from the eyes of a child who is on her way home. Although the society looks old to me, and there are so many changes in appearance, but the core is still the same so the film looks real. By the way, there's no Arabic heard in the film in spite of Arabic being listed in MUBI (maybe a bit of Turkish, but not Arabic.).
As long there is editing, there is nothing called breaking the 4th wall. The rebellion against being filmed has been co-opted and appropriated for the film. For those who say the film is "seen from the point of view of a little girl", are you serious?!
I loved the film and enjoyed it as a film about synchronizing and appropriating the out-takes into the film itself. The little girl is lovely too. 4/5 Panahi.
Everytime I watch a Jafar Panahi film it becomes my new favorite film. The protaganist is a brave little girl who's attempt to escape her duty to perform becomes the ultimate performance. Her spirit of freedom blasts away all western islamaphobic propagandanda.