- Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Jafar Panahi
- Jafar Panahi
In 2010, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was arrested and slapped with a six-year prison sentence on charges of propaganda against the Islamic Republic. He was also forbidden to direct or write any new films for the next 20 years. Despite being unable to attend Cannes due to the ongoing appeals process, Panahi was able to screen This Is Not a Film from a distance by smuggling the file into the festival via a flash drive concealed in a cake. Yet Panahi is that rare artist whose works actually outdo the hype and political volleying that surrounds him. Those lucky enough to have seen Panahi’s work know that his sensitive explorations of urban life and adroit examinations of gender and class are prime vehicles for rich characters and storylines. This Is Not a Film was shot on Panahi’s personal camcorder while still under house arrest and shows a day in the life of the unfairly treated auteur. Using his own films as an interpretive device, he and documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb fashion something that is beyond either of them. This brief yet rich paean to cinema as an expressive tool never victimizes but always validates the medium of its message. The film is ranked the most critically acclaimed of 2012 on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.