Premiering at the Miami International Film Festival, "No One Knows About Persian Cats" showcases the underground music scene in Iran. The film focuses on one band trying to create Indie Rock, but due to censorship in the country, are unable to perform unless they leave the country. Their journey to attain passports, permits, and other band members leads the film crew through the streets of Tehran exploring the music scene in the capital city.
All genres of music, from Indie rock to traditional styles of music are presented in the film. The journey starts with a couple, Negar and Ashkan, and follows them as they try to obtain passports and visas with the help of another friend, Nader. They speak about going on tour in London, and performing in Tehran once more before they leave. They are able to buy fake passports and visas through the black market, allowing them to continue their quest to play music. Their journey takes them all around Tehran, stopping at different venues ranging from underground studios to cowsheds.
Due to the tight censorship restriction on music in the country of Iran, musicians were often arrested for months, and forced to play in extreme conditions. Instruments cannot be seen, and are incredibly expensive to buy. Women are not allowed to sing by themselves but instead in groups of three or four. Music that is non-religious or authorized by the Ministry is banned from public display. Despite all the restrictions, musicians of varying styles are presented in the film, creating sounds and lyrics of their own choosing.
The film was shot guerilla style, with the city of Tehran being presented in a very raw style. When the duo meets a new artist, musicians perform to a montage of photographs of their homeland. The people, the struggles, the poverty, and the city itself are shown while the words of the musicians highlighted the intended context. The images presented are gritty, yet retain a sincerity and beauty. Jazz, hip hop, and metal are all featured in the film, providing an eclectic soundtrack.
"No One Knows About Persian Cats" sheds light on the little known underground music scene in Iran. Passion, music, sacrifice, censorship, and rebellion are all explored in depth in this film. Based on true events, the film captures the struggles of this band to create the kind of music that they want, regardless of the government governmental and societal restrictions surrounding their every move.