Friday, April 16, 2010

No One Knows About Persian Cats

A week and a half ago I went to a screening of the film No One Knows About Persian Cats. It won a special jury prize at Cannes and also played at SXSW this year. I expected it to be a documentary, but it definitely wasn't... I have to say, I didn't love the movie and I was surprised that it made it Cannes, much less won a prize. While the style was certainly unique, I thought the editing and pacing was strange and that the ending was very amateur (I don't want to ruin it for you if you want to see it, but let me just say that it ended the way most film school films end). Not to mention I think the English title they chose is terrible. However, it does give you a great look into the Iranian music scene and what a struggle it is for musicians there. I can't imagine living in a country where it is that hard to play live music, or even rehearse or record an album.

Not only do you witness the struggle that the musicians face on a daily basis, but you get to see the huge variety of musical genres that take place primarily underground in Tehran. The film features everything from rap to jazz to heavy metal to indie (lots of indie) artists playing in basements, on rooftops, in barns and construction sites, anywhere they can play where they are unlikely to get reported to the police. The music was the part of the film that I was the most impressed with.

At the very least, if you see this film, you will appreciate how easy it is for us here in the US to have access to great music from all over the world, and how easy we have it in general. And hopefully you will learn more about the Iranian music scene. To celebrate the NYC opening of the film, there is an afterparty tonight at 92Y Tribeca, where two of the bands will be playing: Yellow Dogs and Hypernova. Sounds like a cool event!

New Century [mp3] - Yellow Dogs
Purchase the soundtrack on Amazon / iTunes

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