No One Knows About Persian Cats

Rated 3.0

It’s not just for being a lightly fictionalized documentary that the new film from Iranian writer-director Bahman Ghobadi (A Time for Drunken Horses) puts the taking of liberties in perspective. With help from a chatty fixer friend (Hamed Behdad), a pair of Tehran teenagers (Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad) root around the city’s underground music scene in search of bandmates and passports, hoping to take their act to—well, any country in which it might actually be legal. We’ll think it quaint that a couple of sweet greenhorn indie-rock kids could be considered subversive by their government, but that’s part of what makes the movie sad and funny. Ghobadi stitches his rangy survey together with an ad hoc series of music videos, but the protagonists’ unaffected rapport and guileless creative curiosity is what’s most essential. If the whole enterprise seems underdeveloped, that’s obviously in part a symptom of the system it gently but resoundingly critiques.