Jaʿfar Panāhī (b. 1960) is an Iranian director, screenwriter, and editor. His collaboration with ʿAbbās Kiyārustamī as an assistant director in the movie Zīr-i dirakhtān-i zaytūn (Through the Olive Trees; 1994), made it possible for him to enter professional cinema as a director. He became the first Iranian director to win a major award at the Cannes Film Festival when his first feature, Bādkunak-i sifīd (The White Balloon; 1995), won the Prix de la Camera d’Or in 1995. Panāhī’s notable films include Dāyirih (The Circle; 2000), Talā-yi surkh (Crimson Gold; 2003), and Āfsāyd (Offside; 2006). His work is associated with New Wave cinema, “reflexive cinema,” “post-Cinema,” and “non-cinema,” and it is known for capturing the hardships of the quotidian for the oft-marginalized and underrepresented in Iran.
In March of 2010, Panāhī was arrested on unspecified charges and was banned from traveling and filmmaking for twenty years due to his political activism. In spite of the ban, he continued to make films clandestinely and, one year after his arrest, in 2011, he directed Īn fīlm nīst (This is Not a Film), which broke the ban on his filmmaking. The film, as the title suggests, is not a movie, but rather a narration by Panāhī of a film he would make. Īn fīlm nīst shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards and won the Carrosse d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Panāhī then completed Pardah (Closed Curtain; 2013), which won the Silver Bear for Screenwriting at the Berlin International Film Festival; Taksī (Taxi; 2015), which won the Golden Bear at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival; and Sih Rukh (Three Faces; 2018), which won Best Screenplay at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.