It's a hot weekend for musical movie lovers. Tomorrow evening is the Aurora Picture Show's Soul Nite, featuring live performance reels from a bouquet of 1960s soul musicians, and tonight the Museum of Fine Arts is screening an award-winning film about the struggle of two Iranian teens trying to form a rock band.
No One Knows about Persian Cats is being presented as part of the 17th annual Iranian Film Festival. The movie was co-written by Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist charged in 2009 with being an American spy. It was filmed covertly, without permits, and is based on real people and events, though it is not a documentary.
It follows the story of Ashkan and Negar, a musician and his band's singer, as they record in underground (literally and figuratively) studios, deal with music bootleggers and try to get fake Visas so they can travel to London for a gig. All the while, Iranian authorities are cracking down on evil Western influences in Tehran's youth culture, including the American rock music that inspires the band.
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The film won a special jury prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Tonight's 8 p.m. showing is a special pre-release screening of the film, which will be introduced by Iranian-American actor Shaun Toub, star of Crash and The Kite Runner.