Music is one thing that can unite across borders, languages, cultures and crisis. Something about music is so healing, so liberating, that it can lift the spirit far above the confines of your body, out of reach from the most crushing of regimes. Music yields the power to ignite passion, to inspire and embolden people. And that is exactly why regimes like Iran seek to squash its influence.

No One Knows About Persian Cats follows a boy and a girl, Askhan and Negar, on their journey from presenting a demo tape and their indie rock dreams to a would-be manager, to building a band and dealing with Iranian underground forces to obtain visas and passports, ultimately so that they can play a festival in England. For them, it’s a lofty goal. Even the best and tamest performers in Tehran find it difficult to obtain a license to perform and slip by the censors. The rest risk their freedom to play, facing months of jail time just for playing a live show.

Along the way, we meet a broad cast of musicians, from a wide range of genres, united in the spirit of defiance. These are people that cannot help but play music, it is their very being, and for that reason, they keep on.

We also see the diversity of Tehran itself, the beauty and the ugliness, the richness of its culture and the challenge of living under Sharia law.

There is something unifying about watching Askhan and Negar’s struggle, to realize that your so-called “enemy” is indeed so human, with the same hopes to pursue one’s dreams and desires.

Askhan and Negar’s story will strike a chord with youth anywhere. There is no difference from Tehran to London to Los Angeles. We all just want to be heard and to be free.

Grade: A

No One Knows About Persian Cats releases in select theaters April 23.