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Fish Tank/No One Knows About Persian Cats

Fish Tank/No One Knows About Persian Cats
Now Showing at: Cincinnati World Cinema October 13th-14th, and a Best of Fest presentation of the 16th.
Review by: Larry Thomas

We often hear the expression “less is more.” Aesthetically speaking, that is sometimes applicable. However, there are situations when “more is more.” Such as next week’s film offerings from Cincinnati World Cinema.

On Wednesday, October 13, there’s a screening of the Iranian Film Nobody Knows About Persian Cats. Two young musicians in Tehran have a burning desire to put together a band and go to England to play their music without having to hide. Yes… hide. For in Iran, many things are forbidden and driven underground in order to avoid arrest… music being one of them. In many ways, this is like the Hollywood chestnut “hey, guys, let’s start a band.” But the cultural differences give it a different spin. Writer-director Bahman Ghobadi stretches out the running time by having too many similar plot points, and some of the songs might have been better chosen. However, the performances are engaging, and the really good songs are really good songs, which may put another facet of world music on your radar. Ghobadi has given Persian Cats an underground feel, as if the Iranian police may enter the auditorium to seize the film and arrest the musicians. It may have its faults, but Nobody Knows About Persian Cats is certainly heartfelt and eye opening. And as a side note, the film was co-written and executive produced by former NPR correspondent Roxana Sabari, who was imprisoned in Iran for almost a year-and-a-half on espionage charges. Her release made world headlines.

The following evening, Thursday, October 14, CWC offers up Fish Tank, a Scottish film from director Andrea Arnold. She gave us the gripping thriller Red Road that played here in 2007. Fish Tank is about Mia, a teenage girl who lives with her egotistical mother and precocious sister in the housing projects outside London. Mia is played by Katie Jarvis, who had never acted before making this film. She has potential. Mia is a hard-drinking promiscuous 15-year-old, who is having a hard time coping with reality. In some ways, Fish Tank has the same gritty, emotionally complex feel of the better-known Trainspotting.

Both nights, the short film Home Free by Northern Kentucky filmmaker Greg Newberry will precede each film. He will join CWC’s Tim Swallow to lead the post-film discussion.

Then on Saturday, October 16, you may want to take advantage of a serious all-day film orgy. Beginning at 1 pm, the Cincinnati Film Festival presents their “Best of Fest,” including the winning feature and a couple of shorts. Encore showings of Persian Cats and Fish Tank follow at 4:30 and 6:45, respectively. Then at 9:00 are a Full Spectrum After Party, featuring music, food, drinks, and cinematic socializing. And the really good news is that you can pick and choose how you want to attend. There are individual tickets available for the Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday screenings of Persian Cats and/or Fish Tank, plus the Best of Fest offerings. Or, you have the option of buying an all-day ticket on Saturday and attending all the events. Whatever your preference, it will be well worth your effort to see these unusual films while they’re here.


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