Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No One Knows About Persian Cats (2010)

This is a limited distribution unfortunately, music-based film about 2 Iranian musicians trying to put together a band and soon after, go to London, England to play. That is a reasonable enough plan we are led to believe, at 1st. But of course those kinds of things, or logistics are far easier talked about, than actually realized. Especially in country such as Iran.

Okay, well what this movie really is about is the struggles and hurdles of these musicians and the underground music scene in Iran. The guy, whose character/real name is Ashkan, seems optimistic for most of the film, but the girl (whose character and real name is Negar) pretty much in every scene is paranoid. And rightfully so, as trying to get passports made, gigs, a place to rehearse, and even the right people to play with is more or less one headache after another for them.

I'm kind of on the fence on what this movie is trying to show/do and what it actually pulls off. It was compared to among others, the 2007 Oscar/IFP award winning music-based movie (which looks like, but actually is not a Documentary) Once. And in a lot of ways, that comparison is valid. Once was a movie about struggling musicians, in less than perfect circumstances. However, the clarity of what happens, the events, even just moving the story forward works much better in Once. At times in this movie you are not clear on where the two of them are at with anything in terms of progress with their band. Part of it could be the language and following subtitles, at least for me, can be a little bit of work. I kept thinking during this movie, how I'd like to see it a 2nd time just to follow the dialogue more clearly.

I will say, the characters were sold quite well. You do care about them and want to see them succeed. So in that respect, I really enjoyed this.

And there was some humor, within some dark moments, including the somewhat ambiguous last 10 minutes involving their promoter and a gig they were supposed to be at. But the guy making the passports was funny (the scene with him). There was one part where they get pulled over by a cop (in their car) and have to hand over their dog. That was a bit of a head-scratcher. Although they get their dog back I guess.

I also found some of the music references nice. One of the musicians mentioning wanting to go to Iceland because Sigur Rós is from there. The drummer they play with even mentions wanting to play with Bill Bruford and Danny Carey.

And the music itself I thought was at times, pretty good. "Indie Rock" which in some ways sounds more layered than that. They showed one band rehearsing outside, in a barn at times, which was kind of silly, right next to cows. They said the cows weren't giving milk or something as a result of the music, lol.

One of the guitarists they looked at was playing for children, he was quite good and charming in some ways.

Their promoter named Nader, talks a good, big game, but ends up showing his true colors in the end, whether that be clearly him or circumstance.

So overall, I got enough from this movie to recommend it and regard it as one of the better movies of 2010. But I would also suggest not expecting it to quite compare to Once or some others. It's a bit more political in exposure, and less about personal relationships.