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Jafar Panahi (born 11 July 1960) is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved international recognition with his feature film debut, The White Balloon (1995). The film won the Caméra d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, the first major award won by an Iranian film at Cannes. Panahi was quickly recognized as one of the most influential film-makers in Iran. Although his films were often banned in his own country, he continued to receive international acclaim from film theorists and critics and won numerous awards, including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for The Mirror (1997), the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for The Circle (2000), and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for Offside (2006). Panahi was arrested by the Iranian government in 2010, accused of working against the regime and sentenced to 6 years house arrest and a 20-year ban on filmmaking activity. With great difiiculty and against all odds he has continually defied the ban and continues to produce films to this day.


Read more on Wikipedia   |   Read the IndieWire 'Closed Curtain' interview   |   Filmography on IMDb

Selected Films

3 Faces  dir. by Jafar Panahi (2018, 100 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


Filmmaker Jafar Panahi and actor Behnaz Jafari travel to a tiny village after receiving a plea for help from a girl whose family has forbidden her from studying acting. Amusing encounters abound, but they soon discover that the local hospitality is rivaled by the desire to protect old traditions.


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3 Faces (2018) on IMDb

Taxi  dir. by Jafar Panahi (2015, 81 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


Internationally acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (This is Not a Film) drives a yellow cab through the vibrant streets of Tehran, picking up a diverse (and yet representative) group of passengers in a single day. Each man, woman, and child candidly expresses his or her own view of the world, while being interviewed by the curious and gracious driver/director. His camera, placed on the dashboard of his mobile film studio, captures a spirited slice of Iranian society.


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 Taxi Tehran
(2015) on IMDb

Closed Curtain  dir. by Jafar Panahi (2013, 106 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi bravely defies his 20-year ban on filmmaking yet again, and stunningly, he has created a masterpiece that not only lives up to his earlier, pre-ban work but surpasses it in many ways. In a secluded house by the sea with the curtains shut, a screenwriter hides from the world with only his dog as company. The tranquility is abruptly broken one night by the arrival of a young woman fleeing from the authorities. Refusing to leave, she takes refuge in the house. But come dawn, another unexpected presence will change everything.


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Closed Curtain (2013) on IMDb

This is Not a Film  dir. by Jafar Panahi (2011, 80 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


This clandestine documentary, shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, depicts the day-to-day life of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (Offside, The Circle) during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment. While appealing his sentence - six years in prison and a 20 year ban from filmmaking - Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking.


View Trailer     View Film on Amazon

 This Is Not a Film
(2011) on IMDb

Offside  dir. by Jafar Panahi  (2006, 93 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


The Tehran soccer stadium roars with 100,000 cheering men -- and only men. The girls who are caught sneaking into the match and the soldiers who guard them, end up playing their own sort of game -- far more compelling than the championship inside.


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(2006) on IMDb

Crimson Gold  dir. by Jafar Panahi  (2003, 95 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


Based on true events and written by acclaimed director Abbas Kiarostami, CRIMSON GOLD is the story of Hussein, a humble pizza deliveryman who feels continually humiliated by the injustices he sees all around him. When his friend Ali finds a receipt for a stranger's necklace purchase, Hussein is stunned by its exceptionally high cost. He knows that his pitiful salary will never be enough to afford such a luxury. Soon after, he and Ali are refused entry to an uptown jewelry store because of their scruffy appearances; his rage over this slight sets off a series of events.


View Film on Apple TV     View Film on MUBI

 Crimson Gold
(2003) on IMDb

The Circle  dir. by Jafar Panahi  (2000, 90 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


A woman gives birth to a baby girl. Little does she know but she and her daughter are already unwanted. Three women are released from prison and their need for money leads them to take desperate measures. An unmarried woman seeking an abortion is rejected from her father's house by the violent threats of her brothers. Their crimes are vague, their guilt or innocence unimportant. Their paths cross, the suspense of their intrigues heightens. Their plights are often too tragically similar. Their world is one of constant surveillance bureaucracy and age-old inequalities. But this stifling world cannot extinguish the spirit strength and courage of the circle of women.


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 The Circle
(2000) on IMDb

The Mirror  dir. by Jafar Panahi  (1997, 95 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


When a young girl becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of Tehran, her journey turns into a dazzling exercise on the nature of film itself. In this ingenious and daringly original feature, world renounced director Jafar Panahi has wrapped a blunt political critique inside the layers of a deceptively simple film.


View Clip     View Film on Criterion Channel

 The Mirror
(1997) on IMDb

The White Balloon  dir. by Jafar Panahi  (1995, 85 min., Iran) In Persian with English subtitles


Iranian filmmaker Jafar Pinahi's debut feature The White Balloon tells the story of Razieh (Aida Mohammadkhani), a seven-year-old girl intent on buying a new goldfish in time for Tehran's annual New Year's Day festivities (in Iranian culture, the goldfish is a symbol of life). Told in real time, the film's sensitive portrayal of Razieh's wide-eyed misadventures superbly conveys the impact which an otherwise unremarkable chain of events can indelibly leave upon the life of a child.


View Clip     View Film on Criterion Channel

 The White Balloon
(1995) on IMDb

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