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Archive for the ‘Filmed in Iran in Farsi with English Subtitles’ Category

The Color Of Paradise

30 Oct

The Color Of Paradise – written and directed by Majid Majidi. Drama. A blind boy is abused by his father who is ashamed of him. 90 minutes Color 1999.
★★★★★
This is a wonderful picture, difficult for me at first, which is the customary strategy of this director, and then eventually and wholly to be surrendered to. Both the freakishness of the boy’s blindness and the dire hatred of him by the father are so off-putting that I knew I must stick with it for the good that might be arrived at — and it sure did come. I cannot imagine where the green countryside exists once this film leaves Tehran. I cannot imagine how they found that boy. I cannot imagine how they found an actor great enough to play that father so thoroughgoingingly. It is beyond my comprehension that this film, in its extraordinary extremes, came to exist at all. The whole thing is a mystery to me, and one that I am grateful for. Of course, watching it, don’t expect a walk in the park. But do expect that your capacity for compassion will be engaged to a fullness wider than wide. Expect a spaciousness in yourself to appear to hold this remarkable simple tale in your being.

 

A Separation

04 May

A Separation — written and directed by Asghar Farhadi. Drama. Life as it is, consequent on a couple’s wanting to separate, who can’t. 123 minutes Color 2011.

★★★★★

The Oscar for the Best Foreign film, thank goodness, and one wonders, first at its astonishing freedom of expression, and then, how come we would have to go to a foreign film to find out exactly how we ourselves behave. I see no English speaking film with this degree of grit, truth of performance, revelation of the human condition of people of any nation, anywhere. The only difference between the people of Iran and us is that some of the females wear a chador; the men dress like me or the guy down the street. The story is an everyday one. The wife of a couple wants to leave the country in order to make a better life for her eleven year old daughter, but the husband refuses to leave with her because he is responsible to care for his senile father who lives with them. I never tell the stories of  movies, and I won’t tell any more of this one, because the value of it registers only through the human colors revealed by its progress; our relation to those colors is what the story actually is. Like the great opening scene of Marlon Brando in Sidney Lumet’s The Fugitive Kind, it opens with its characters pleading their cases directly to the camera which acts as the magistrate and therefore us, the audience, and we are thus invited right into the squabble of the story with all its disarrangements, revelations, shifts of truth and human bearing. In terms of acting, what we see here makes Method and Meisner acting look like vanity. It is futile to speculate how such actors are trained in Tehran. Evidently they are not victims of a repressive theocracy. And it is futile, because the result of their work has nothing to do with our yearning for the ideal which the good looking or sexy looking actors Western acting offers us. No. Not here. Here we are unsullied by idealism. This acting affords us a different value entirely: pure participation. Seeing this picture, I realized I was seeing something I had longed to see all my life in film – something that film could provide better than any other medium: the seething truth of the ordinary. I do not go a work of art to be entertained, but to entertain something. And this director/storyteller seems to have set aside his desire to entertain, if he ever had it, but to give us people we can read, and the result is that I dive in and entertain myself vastly. I rejoice in this pleasure. Unlike the couple in the film, we are a perfect match.

 

The Color Of Paradise

01 May

The Color Of Paradise — directed by  Majid Majidi. Drama. A father despises his son for being blind. 90 minutes Color 2000.

★★★★★

This is a wonderful picture, difficult for me at first, which is the customary strategy of this director, and then wholly to be surrendered to. Both the freakishness of the boy’s blindness and the dire hatred of him by the father are so off-putting that I knew I must stick with it for the good that might be arrived at — and it sure did come. I cannot imagine where this film was shot once it leaves Tehran. I cannot imagine how they found that boy. I cannot imagine how they found an actor great enough to play that father so thoroughgoingly. It is beyond my comprehension that this film, in its extremes, came to exist at all. The whole thing is a mystery to me, and one that I am grateful for. Of course, watching it, don’t expect a walk in the park. But do expect that your capacity for compassion will be engaged wider even than the director’s, a spaciousness in your being you’ll welcome. Miss it and you miss something of yourself.

 
 
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