Alan Parker – Come See the Paradise (1990)

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Plot Synopsis:

In 1942, over 100,000 Americans were interned in prison camps…..In America.

Portraying one of the shadier details of American history, this is the story of Jack McGurn, who comes to Los Angeles in 1936. He gets a job at a movie theatre in Little Tokyo and falls in love with the boss’s daughter, Lily Kawamura. When her father finds out, he is fired and forbidden ever to see her again. But together they escape to Seattle. When the war breaks out, the authorities decide that the Japanese immigrants must live in camps like war prisoners. Written by Mattias Thuresson. Read More »

Abbas Kiarostami – Five: Dedicated to Ozu (2003)

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Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (A TASTE OF CHERRY, THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES) goes for a meditative change of pace with FIVE: DEDICATED TO OZU, a gorgeous work set on the shores of Galicia in Spain. The 74-minute film consists of five pieces, all focusing on the ocean, with no camera movement (save for one brief pan) and only natural sound, except for short musical interludes linking the sections. The first piece centers on a chunk of driftwood on the shore as the waves slowly approach it, threatening its existence. For the second section, Kiarostami sets his camera up behind the boardwalk, with the beach in the distance, as people make their way in and out of camera range. The third part is back on the sand, watching a group of stray dogs interact, forming their own private society. Next, a parade of ducks come quacking one way, then the other, adding comic relief to the contemplative setting. And finally, the last scene is a nighttime opera of nature, as frogs and other animals make noise as the moon tries to peer through the clouds, a rainstorm approaches, and the water in a pond glistens. Made in 2003, the unusual film is a mesmerizing masterpiece of simplicity dedicated to the 100th birthday of the great Japanese writer-director Yasujiro Ozu, who attempted to capture real life in such moving family portraits as TOKYO STORY, A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS, and EARLY SPRING. 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 – Khane-ye doust kodjast? AKA Where’s My Friend’s House? (1987)

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Toxivuniverse(.com) review
Opening with a long close-up of a plain bluish iron door with chattering eight-year-old children behind while the credits roll, Kiarostami prepares the way for a slowly-paced visual essay on Iranian life. Children and adult worlds contrast greatly in modern day Iran, as captured by Kiarostami’s camera–the teacher, parents, and extended family all hold vastly different values from the young protagonist. The rigid teacher insists on his students doing their homework in notebooks, so their progress can be properly chronicled. Mohamed Reda Nematzadeh (Ahmed Ahmed Poor) bursts into tears when the teacher rips his single page homework page to threads and threatens to expel him if he doesn’t bring his notebook to class the following day. Kiarostami’s simple, but effectively placed camera shots builds palpable tension within the class, especially on the face of sympathetic Ahmed (Babek Ahmed Poor). Read More »

Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach, Ermanno Olmi – Tickets (2005)

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Description: A train travels across Italy toward Rome. On board are a family of Albanian refugees, a professor who daydreams conversations with a lost love, three brash Scottish soccer fans en route to a match, and a complaining widow traveling to a memorial service for her late husband, accompanied by a community service volunteer who’s assisting her. Interactions among these Europeans turn on class and nationalism, courtesy and rudeness, and opportunities for kindness. 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 »