TribLIVE

| Home


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Review: 'Cats' take tour of Tehran's underground music scene

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Pittsburgher movie quiz for yunz

Is 'Birdman' star Michael Keaton the best actor with western Pennsylvania ties? Click here to play the Trib's tongue-in-cheek attempt to find out.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Washington Post
Thursday, June 24, 2010
 

Not rated; contains adult themes; 3.5 stars; showtimes

The brilliant Iranian Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi takes filmgoers on a breathless, revelatory tour of contemporary Tehran in "No One Knows About Persian Cats," his lightly fictionalized account of that city's vital underground music scene. Since making his U.S. debut with the 2000 drama "A Time for Drunken Horses," Ghobadi has emerged as a filmmaker whose gift for poetic realism was only equaled by an unerring sense of precisely when and how to break the viewer's heart. Hearts break in "No One Knows About Persian Cats," too, but they also soar.

Following the real-life musical duo Take It Easy Hospital (Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad) as they try to put together a band and arrange exit papers for a concert in London, Ghobadi uses the couple's madcap search as a conceit for his own exploration of Tehran's vibrant cultural and economic black market. With the help of a record producer and fixer named Nadar (Hamed Behdad), Negar and Ashkan embark on a subterranean tour of the city's cellars and side streets, where they find blues, fusion jazz, indie rock, heavy metal and traditional Iranian musicians performing and recording despite being officially banned by the Islamic Republic.

"No One Knows About Persian Cats" pulses with urgency, weaving through a society that seems to exist on two levels at once: the strict, censorious brand of Islamic fundamentalism enforced by the mullahs, and the secular, cosmopolitan world that thrives just beneath the surface. If it's initially startling to see someone wearing a CBGB T-shirt in "No One Knows About Persian Cats," that shock quickly wears off, as viewers become intimately familiar with a city bursting with contradictions and a palpable, if fragile, sense of defiance.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
  2. Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
  3. Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
  4. Man’s body found hours after disappearance on Youghiogheny River
  5. Judge lashes UPMC, Highmark in consent decree violation hearing
  6. Pirates notebook: Alvarez having success looking the other way
  7. Steelers notebook: Blake gets outside shot in nickel
  8. Shadyside Art & Craft Festival makes jump to new spring edition
  9. Plum teacher, held for trial, vows to fight witness intimidation charge
  10. Crews working to free worker trapped in trench collapse in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood
  11. Project aims to control feral cat population in Pittsburgh area