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No One Knows About Persian Cats

Studio: IFC Films
Directed by Bahman Ghobadi; Starring: Negar Shaghaghi, Ashkan Koshanejad, Hamed Behdad

Apr 13, 2010 Web Exclusive
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“This is what music is supposed to be,” says wheeler and dealer of contraband, Nader, while listening to a track by indie rockers Ashkan and Negar. But under the strict moral and political code of Tehran, non-traditional music like theirs is supposed to have a permit. Under Nader’s wing, the pair search from one ramshackle hideout to the next for the visas and band members they desperately need to perform a concert in London.

The social and political restrictions in Tehran that threaten this subset of youth music culture also constrained director Bahman Ghobadi. Ashkan and Negar’s story gets lost in what feels like a documentary tour of Tehran’s underground music scene; performance interludes depicting Iranian heavy metal, indie, and rap appear throughout, and while there are moments of real poignancy as we encounter the city’s musicians who rock out despite the threat of imprisonment, their music often doesn’t resonate beyond a mimesis of Western influences (posters of The Beatles, Kurt Cobain, Joy Division and The Arctic Monkeys can be spotted throughout). Still, the film is a worthwhile journey that exposes the dangers of having a passion for Western music in modern Iran. (

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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Ken Baker
April 13th 2010

A breath of fresh air to read a review that provides an insightful account of the film.

Karen McLain
April 15th 2010

This author is a brilliant writer and should review more bands and films.  What incredible insight and succinct impressions in just a glimpse of wonderful writing.  Bravo!

Sasha Ravenshad
April 15th 2010

When is this out?

Sherwin Chen
July 20th 2011

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