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No One Knows About Persian Cats

Where to find Persian Cats DVD/CD/Band Info   

Essential Event Info
(What, Where, When, How Much)

W H A T :

  • Director Bahman Ghobadi, Iran, 2009, running time 101 minutes, dialogue in Farsi with English subtitles, music in Farsi and English
  • Genre: Docu-Drama
  • Post-Film Discussion: led by Greg Newberry, Mercedes Namei & Tim Swallow, Weds; Greg Newberry & Tim Swallow, Thur.

  • Director Greg Newberry, Ft. Thomas KY, 2002, running time 11 minutes
  • Genre: Short film, satire

  • W H E N :

  • Wednesday, October 13, 7:30 pm
  • Social hour and cash bar, 6:30 pm
  • Repeats: Saturday, October 16, 4:30 pm

  • W H E R E :

  • The Carnegie Arts Center
    1028 Scott Blvd., Covington KY 41011   859-491-2030
  • Easy Access, Free Parking:
    Printable PDF parking map
    Printable JPG parking map
    Interactive directional map
    Printable map and written directions

  • T I C K E T S :

  • Tickets are $8* in advance and $10* at the door.
  • Tickets for students and Enjoy the Arts members with valid ID are $8*, available only at the door.
  • Single tickets for Cincinnati Film Festival pass holders are $5, available only at the door.
  • The discounts and special pricing above are stand-alone - they cannot be combined.

  •  * NOTE: Any ticket physically sold by the CARNEGIE incurs a $1.00 facility charge IN ADDITION to the face value of the ticket -- this applies to tix purchased in advance by phone or in person, and at the door.

    How to get Tickets

  • Click here for online tickets

    By phone:
  • The Carnegie,
    859-491-2030, Tue-Fri 12-5p
  • Tollfree,
    877-548-3237, Mon-Fri 9a-7p

    In person at these area locations
    (click each location for a map):

  • Clifton-Ludlow Avenue,
    Sitwell's Coffee House
    513 281 7487

  • Mt. Lookout Square,
    Lookout Joe Coffee Roasters

    513 871 8626

  • Northside-Hamilton Ave,
    Shake It Music & Video
    513 591 0123

  • Downtown Cincinnati,
    Coffee Emporium
    513 651 5483

  • Tickets will also be sold at the door, subject to availability.

    Cincinnati Film Festival &
    Covington Full Spectrum

    Cincinnati World Cinema's presentation of Persian Cats and Fish Tank is offered in collaboration with the Cincinnati Film Festival and also comprises the Full Spectrum Cinema portion of Covington's 2010 Full Spectrum arts festival.


    The Cincinnati Film Festival runs October 8 through October 16, offering a wide variety of feature and short films at various venues. Check out the schedule and film details by clicking the CFF graphic.

    Full Spectrum

    Now in its sixth year, Full Spectrum celebrates the creative artists of the region, Covington's artistic heritage, offering a diverse sampling of entertainment and art forms. Beginning October 1 and on weekends through the month, the CBC Hyper Hop, Wee Fairy Folk Fest, Art Off Pike, Full Spectrum Cinema, World Music Fest and Zombie Crawl await your participation! Find out more - click on the Full Spectrum graphic to visit the site.

    Home Free

    Filmed in the Mt. Adams neighborhood of Cincinnati, Home Free is an eleven-minute dramatic satire that touches on some of the local establishment's least-favorite topics: panhandling and homelessness. Director Greg Newberry's allegorical exercise adds advertising, the church, talent agents and TV motivational gurus to his look at street life. Funny and engaging, the experience is provocative with a serious undertow.

    Co-produced by Cindy Bashore, the ensemble cast includes local acting luminaries Bob Elkins, Lonell Childred, Giles Davies and Sylvester Little, Jr. Home Free was an official selection at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and the Zeitgeist International Film Festival in San Francisco. It won Best Actor laurels in Ireland at the Dublin Film & Music Fest and also won Best of Show at Underneath Cincinnati.

    Discussion Leaders

    A resident of Ft. Thomas, Greg Newberry is a screenwriter, director and member of the Writer's Guild of America. Along with filmmaking, Greg recently wrote and directed his first stage play, Riding Shotgun, which premiered at NKU. In addition to pursuing his muse, Greg creates the cool advertising we see for the Newport Aquarium.

    Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Mercedeh Namei received her Bachelor's and Master's in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. Over the past eight years she has worked with local engineers and architects on a variety of projects. Mercedeh organized the first Persian Student Association at UC and served as president for two years; currently she is co-chair of the Young Architects and Interns Forum of Cincinnati. An avid traveler, her interests include film, music and the arts.

    An excellent survey of Iranian pop culture and a moving and exuberant account of young artists in Iran's underground music scene, struggling to express themselves against a backdrop of intolerance and oppression.


    Underground Musicians Fight The Man In Tehran

    by Mark Jenkins, National Public Radio   (bio)   (blog)
    Many things are forbidden in Iran - and in Iranian cinema. The title of No One Knows About Persian Cats was inspired by Iran's ban on cats and dogs in public, but it's actually about another taboo subject: secular music.
    Lightly fictionalized, this near-documentary explores Tehran's underground music scene, which harbors indie rock, hip-hop, heavy metal, Latin jazz and other styles. From a Western perspective, most of the performers don't seem particularly threatening. But in Iran, even traditional Persian music is prohibited if it's performed by women.
    Kurdish-Iranian writer-director Bahman Ghobadi, who came to prominence with 2000's A Time for Drunken Horses, usually tells stories that straddle the border between Iran and Iraq. He previously alluded to the plight of female Iranian musicians in Marooned in Iraq, in which a Kurdish singer crosses the frontier to help his ex-wife, who fled Iran after women there were banned from performing.
    Persian Cats is Ghobadi's first film set in contemporary Tehran, which makes it even more of a challenge to Iranian authorities. Also, it was co-written and executive produced by Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-Japanese-American journalist who was imprisoned in Iran last year on dubious espionage charges. No wonder that Ghobadi currently lives outside his homeland, with little likelihood of returning so long as the current regime is in power.
    The movie begins in a recording studio, where the director is working on music because his latest script hasn't been approved. He meets Negar (Negar Shaghaghi) and Ashkan (Ashkan Koshanejad), members of an alt-rock group, Take It Easy Hospital, who play approximate versions of themselves. Because they perform rock, and because Negar is a female vocalist, the couple has just finished a stint in prison. They intend to emigrate to Britain, but want to assemble a full band for a farewell concert. They'll also need forged passports and visas to exit the country.
    These twin quests provide the movie's framework: Negar and Ashkan enlist Nader (Hamed Behdad), a fast-talking fixer who specializes in access to the West and its pop culture, who'll both get the phony documents the two performers need and introduce them to musicians who might back them in that last performance.
    The plot's whirlwind tour of clandestine music showcases, among others, a metal band that practices in a cattle barn - milk production is down since rehearsals began - and a rapper called Hichkas (Persian for "nobody") who celebrates mean-streets Tehran as if it were Compton. For those who follow Anglo-American pop music, the Tehran scene may seem oddly familiar. Iranian rockers read New Musical Express, love Sigur Ros, wear CBGB's T-shirts and sing such lines as, "There's no room in your cage for me." But the cage that imprisons them isn't high school - it's the entire country.
    The movie's principal liability is that most of the music is highly derivative. Ghobadi spends a lot of time on songs that are more interesting sociologically than musically.
    But the fictionalized fates of Negar, Ashkan and Nader are more compelling. Nader gets busted for having alcohol and foreign-film DVDs, and in a sequence that's both comic and chilling, frantically argues against receiving 75 lashes. In the movie's brutal climax, Negar and Ashkan visit an illegal rave that's raided by cops.
    In real life, the couple did make it to London. But at the end of Ghobadi's largely factual odyssey, most of the musicians he introduces are still locked in a cage. (Recommended)
    Written by Mark Jenkins and posted to NPR on 15 April 2010


    Persian Cats was selected as a New York Times Critics' Pick ... you may wish to read the NYT review by A.O. Smith.

    Larry Thomas reviews Persian Cats and Fish Tank on WVXU, 89.7 FM.   You can read it here or listen online here.

    Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics Score: 100% fresh     Metacritic score: 71     IMDB 7.5

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    "If I hadn't turned out to be a filmmaker, I would have been a musician. I love music, make films with music, eat with music, sleep with music, think with music. Music makes me dream, it strengthens my creativity. I can travel with music. I close my eyes and I can travel all over the world with music. And one after another, stories come to me and I just record them."

    Films directed by BAHMAN GHOBADI are generally considered "must-see" because of his signature approach to filmmaking: Beautiful cinematography - penetrating closeups of key actors, long, sumptious panning shots of mountainous or desert backgrounds; the liberal use of humor, music and irony; well-written scripts about believable protagonists and actual events; casting real, local people over professional actors; and artful character development that dwells on the humanity and resilience of the family of man.

    While the Iranian government strives to suppress his work, Ghobadi, an Iranian Kurd, has enjoyed considerable international success over the last ten years. He first gained attention with his short film Life in Fog (considered the most famous short documentary ever made in Iran), followed closely in 2000 with A Time for Drunken Horses which won the prize for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival. His subsequent feature films - Marooned in Iraq, Turtles Can Fly and Half Moon have all received worldwide recognition. His current film, No One Knows About Persian Cats, won a Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, is very popular in Europe and is now in theatrical release here in the States.

    Appreciation of Ghobadi as a filmmaker has spread to the U.S., where earlier this year he and his films were honored with a retrospective at the Lincoln Center in New York City. His body of work has consistently received high praise from audiences and juries at the major, top-tier international film festivals, such as Berlin, Cannes, Clermont-Ferrand, Gijon, Istanbul, Rotterdam, San Sebastian, Sao Paulo, Tbilisi and Tromso. Ditto domestically, with Aspen, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Santa Fe, Seattle and Tribeca. The roster of awards received is too long to include on this webpage. You can see a listing of the main awards here.

    Bahman Ghobadi was born in 1969 in Baneh near the Iraq-Iran border in the province of Iranian Kurdistan. He graduated from the National Audiovisual School in Teheran, and in recent years has collaborated with Roxana Saberi (now his fiance) on screenwriting and production. It is also worth noting that the dialogue in Ghobadi's Drunken Horses was not in Persian but in Kurdish. This was the first feature film in that language, a tongue banned in Iranian schools since the 1940s, to achieve an international release.

    Learn more about Bahman Ghobadi:

    Official Website
    New York Times
    Roxana Saberi (NYT)

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