Iranian-Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi returns to the IFFR with 'No One Knows About Persian Cats', a rare and exciting look into the underground music scene of Tehran. In dramatized documentary form, Ghobadi shows how hidden below the surface of Iran's religious dictatorship Tehran is alive and buzzing with musical talent.
The story follows the indierock duo Take It Easy Hospital in their search for band members, and for black-market passports to leave Iran. After 'Turtles Can Fly' and 'Half Moon', 'No One Knows About Persian Cats' is Ghobadi's lightest film yet, an ode to the power of music and free expression prevailing in the face of repression. But the uplifting tone has a grim ring to it - after all, these musicians risk jail and worse for playing what they want.
A master at combining comedy and tragedy, Ghobadi poignantly shows the bitter and often desperate reality behind the music. For instance, one hilarious scene has a man arguing with a judge about his supposedly subversive dvd collection. Behind the comedy, however, is the brutal fact that the man is trying to avoid a sentence of 80 whiplashes.
Here are some clips from the film showing the vibrancy and variety in the Tehran scene - ranging from indierock to rap (Hichkas) to metal in a cow shed (Nik Aeen Band).