TIFF 2011: THIS IS NOT A FILM
This self-reflexive "documentary" reveals Panahi in comfortable if restless house arrest awaiting news of his appeal. It observes how near to impossible it is to keep a visionary from expressing his vision, in whatever truncated or plebian or disposable a form as necessary. Forbidden to make a film for decades, Panahi nonetheless passes the time in what-if scenarios graphed out with masking tape on the living room rug. His tussles with Mirtahmasb over who's directing who are amusing. Mickey the dog nearly steals the show. But when Panahi feels emboldened to take his camera down to the street level, the fires of chaos remind the viewer that--for as much humor as this film affords--what is happening in Iran is no laughing matter.