Iran

Mani Haghighi – Kargaran mashghoole karand AKA Men at Work (2006)

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Quote:
A bare bones synopsis of this film might lead you to expect that it is lethally boring. Four middle aged buddies are returning to Tehran from a trip to the mountains, trying to get back in time to watch an important soccer match on TV. Their homeward journey grinds to a halt when they round a curve in the highway and are confronted by a natural monolith, a 10 foot high, narrow rock formation, projecting straight up out of the ground, overlooking the canyon below. They spend the rest of the movie trying to topple it. Hmmmmm. Not a narrative arc that causes gooseflesh exactly, am I right? What makes this short movie almost spellbinding instead has nothing to do with the rock, but everything to do with the etchings of character that unfold as each man reacts to the circumstances, and they all kill a lot of time just doing guyspeak, largely about their women, past and present. Fleshing out that theme, one might say, are appearances by two of the women in their lives who – either inadvertently or by design – show up at the rock project. They too prove to be intriguing and contrasting personalities.

This film, based on a story by Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, is reminiscent of the work of John Cassavetes, and, like his films, this one is not for everyone’s taste. (IMDB ) Read More »

Ebrahim Golestan – Khesht va Ayeneh AKA Brick and Mirror (1965)

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From Gene Siskel Film Center:
One of Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s “Top 1000” from his book Essential Cinema, THE BRICK AND THE MIRROR is as fabled for being unseen in a public screening in over 35 years as for its significant thematic and technical breakthroughs. Moody realism conveys a stark poetry in this tale of a cab driver stuck with an abandoned baby in his back seat. Moral quandaries and social fears vie with eroticism when the driver and a lonely woman spend the night with the baby as the phantom facsimile of a family. The film’s finale, set in an orphanage, is a stunning, haunting piece of social realism that was to send ripples of influence through the next four decades of Iranian cinema Read More »

Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi – In film nist AKA This Is Not a Film (2011)

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This Is Not A Film (Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2011). The amount of humor in Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s hybrid effort is surprising, especially in light of the serious and well-publicized censure of Panahi’s filmmaking by Iranian authorities. But perhaps there is nothing left to do but laugh in the face of such shamefully ridiculous authoritarianism? “Laughing or crying, you know it’s the same release,” Joni Mitchell notes. Read More »

Abbas Kiarostami – Nan va Koutcheh AKA Bread and Alley (1970)

A playful boy heads for home after buying bread, only to find out the road is blocked by a frightening stray dog. As no passerby stops to offer assistance, it finally occurs to the boy to be friend the dog by throwing it a piece of bread. Kiarostami’s first film is a wordless, bittersweet classic. 1970, b&w, 10 minutes. Read More »

Abbas Kiarostami – Dow Rahehal Baraye yek Massaleh AKA Two Solutions for One Problem (1975)

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Description: IMDB User Comment
Author: Simon Huxtable from London, England

Perhaps I am the only person to have seen this film, but seek it out you must. It’s a Kiarostami slapstick (I think), which involves two schoolkids breaking each other’s stuff and getting in a fight because they didn’t cooperate (the second solution is much less entertaining because they both learn to get along). I’m not sure if it’s meant to be funny, though Kiarostami is, I guess, pretty amusing as arthouse directors go, but it’s the ritualised aspect of Iranian society that comes out, unconsciously perhaps, in this film and it’s what gives it a comic turn as one kid tears up the other’s exercise book and the other stares on impassively and breaks the other’s ruler in half. But it’s all in the expressions, man! The deadpan voiceover is pretty cool, too. Overall, as Jonathan Rosenbaum might say, ‘dude, this rocks!’. Read More »

Abbas Kiarostami – 10 on Ten (2004)

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Description: Ten masterly lessons of cinema by Abbas Kiarostami, whose metaphysical work is characterized by his unique poetry and his sense of purity. In addition to the rigor of his frame, the Iranian filmmaker imposes the physical immediacy of his shots, inspired by the magnificence his landscapes and depth of field. His naturalist fictions are spread majestically in the election sets. Besides, nature is the starting point of this documentary, as the auteur lightheartedly enjoys pointing out: “During the debates which followed screenings of Ten, certain movie goers said to me that in my films I had accustomed them to seeing landscapes and nature and that they had still come to see the landscapes and nature. Actually, each film requires its own place. Ten had to be filmed in such a confined space”. Read More »

Abbas Kiarostami – Ten (2002)

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Ten, the latest film by Iranian master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, focuses on ten conversations between a female driver in Tehran and the passengers in her car. Her exchanges with her young son, a jilted bridge, a prostitute, a women on her way to prayer and others, shed light on the lives and emotions of these women whose voices are seldom heard. Read More »