Iran: Film about music censorship shown on Cannes Film Festival



Film about music censorship
shown on Cannes Film Festival

A new feature film about music censorship in Iran features the underground rock band Mirza, the rapper Hichkas, as well as other musicians of varying styles from Persian pop and folk to heavy metal, and women who are banned in Iran from public solo singing.

‘Nobody Knows About the Persian Cats’ (‘Kasi az gorbehaye irani khabar nadareh’ is described as ‘an upbeat musical starring real underground musicians’ and is to open a section of the Cannes Film Festival spotlighting new and upcoming talent under the title ‘Un certain regard’.

The film was shot in Tehran, created by the 40-year-old Kurdish film director Bahman Ghobadi, who also produced the film ‘Half Moon’ about a Kurdish musician — a film which on the one hand won a ‘Golden shell’ in San Sebastian International Film Festival and on the other hand was banned from Iranian theatres under the pretext that it incites Kurdish separatism.

‘Nobody Knows About The Persian Cats’ is Bahman Ghobadi’s first feature film set in the capital. His previous films were all shot in Kurdish-populated areas in Iran and neighboring Iraq.

Ban over lyrics, instruments or dance beat
“The authorities frown on experimenting. They want everyone to play the lofty traditional Iranian music or bland pop,” Bahman Ghobadi told the French news agency AFP.

“We spent a lot of time with these kids and listened to their stories, their dreams and disappointments. They basically face a ban over their lyrics, the kind of instruments they use, or if the tune has a dance feel to it,” the film’s script-writer Hossein Mortezaian Abkenar was quoted as saying.


Agence France-Presse, AFP – 11 May 2009:

‘Ghobadi’s ‘Cats’ explores Iran’s music scene’

No One Knows About Persian Cats Clip – video on YouTube

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Story from BBC