Back in the late 1990s, I became interested in Iranian cinema through some great films like Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry and Majid Majidi's Children of Heaven. I started to explore further, and to date I have seen nearly 50 films from that intrepid country. As much as I love them, I will admit one thing: they're mostly about children and/or poetic realism, and they are not for people looking for a good "B" movie fix. Until now, that is: Bahman Ghobadi's No One Knows About Persian Cats opens in limited release this week, and it may be the first Iranian "B" movie.
It's a rock 'n' roll movie, specifically an "assemble the band" movie like The Blues Brothers, but it has the rambling, slapdash quality of something like A Hard Day's Night, including some welcome humor. It uses the many-band format of films like The Girl Can't Help It or 9 Songs, wherein the characters travel all over town to see various bands perform. But ultimately, it strikes me as something of an Iranian version of The Harder They Come, with a bit of a political jab.