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One of the world’s great cinema artists, Jafar Panahi has been carefully crafting self-reflexive works about artistic, personal, and political freedom for the past three decades, despite being banned from filmmaking by the Iranian government since 2010. In No Bears—completed shortly before his imprisonment in 2022—Panahi plays a fictionalized version of himself, a dissident filmmaker who relocates to a rural border town to direct a film remotely in nearby Turkey and finds himself embroiled in a local scandal. As he struggles to complete his feature, Panahi must confront the opposing pulls of tradition and progress, city and country, belief and evidence, as well as the universal desire to reject oppression.