No Bears

Jafar Panahi
Thu 20 Apr 23 - Tue 25 Apr 23

The Irani director Jafar Panahi was forbidden to make films for twenty years. After a prison sentence and a hunger strike, he managed to direct ‘No Bears’. A unique achievement!

A busy street in Turkey full of noisy street vendors. Zara leaves a café to meet Bakhtiyar, who has arranged a fake French passport for her. Then something surprising happens: somebody yells ‘cut’. The camera man talks to director Pahani, who watches from a distant location. He himself is being caught up in an extramarital love affair.


The brilliant ‘No Bears’ is a layered drama that alters between funny, angry, playful and desperate. The film appeals to both the intellect and the emotions. Themes as fear by oppression, the power of stories and the contrast between modernity and tradition bring about a strong story line. In addition, personal and intimate stories are deployed for a broader, political resonance.

Jafar Panahi
Jafar Panahi, Mina Kavani, Naser Hashemi
106 min
Dutch, French

No Bears has many shades and moods, from delightful rural comedy to the most serious kind of social concern. And it has the kind of open ending, somehow very stirring, that qualifies as another hallmark of classical Iranian cinema.

Robert Horton, The Scarewrow