- Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 05:51
While many may not know Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim by name, her award winning documentary film, Control Room, made a resounding impact worldwide. Released in 2004, Control Room exposed the difference in reporting on the US invasion of Iraq between Western media and the Arab news network, Al Jazeera, and earned Noujaim the 2006 TED Award for her vision to change the world through film.
- Published on Thursday, 11 October 2012 04:18
Once upon a time in Anatolia, wandering Persian mystics surrendered their souls to the Beloved, itinerant bards recited tales of love and chivalry to the sounds of the saz, and nomads and bandits roamed the steppes far and wide on horseback, in the great tradition of their Turkic forebears. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s recent film, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (a reference to Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West), however, has little to do with the reckless beauty of the Anatolian plains; rather, it tells of a murder investigation – based on true events – in which the darker aspects of the Turkish countryside are chillingly depicted.
- Published on Saturday, 06 October 2012 05:53
Iranian films have a reputation for being painfully real, and Goodbye is certainly no exception to the rule. Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, who, like the protagonist in his film, had a falling out with the authorities – along with fellow filmmaker Jafar Panahi – the film is at once a window into the bleakness of modern day Iran, and a reflection of the director’s own predicament.
- Published on Thursday, 10 May 2012 06:44
There is a line in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d'Urbervilles, when a character remarks that Tess has jumped “out of the frying pan and into the fire!” It is an apt characterization that comes to life in Michael Winterbottom’s film adaptation of the classic novel, Trishna.
Winterbottom and the film’s star, Frieda Pinto (of Slumdog Millionaire fame) were both present at the Tribeca Film Festival in April to introduce the film, where they also praised the festival for its dedication to independent filmmaking.
Transporting the story from 19th century England to modern-day India, Trishna follows its namesake protagonist (Pinto), a peasant from the villages of Rajasthan, and her relationship with Jay (Riz Ahmed), the wealthy and charismatic hotelier. How the initial attraction develops into a complexly dangerous relationship forms the crux of the plot.
- Published on Thursday, 08 March 2012 18:22
Amidst talk of bombs and wars, a small Iranian film sweeps up the highest honors in western cinema. Its unassuming director goes up on stage, faces Hollywood aristocracy and his voice, soft and humble, flows across the airways reaching millions dedicating his golden statue to the good people of his ancient land.
The following day various sites hailed the event as an example of cultural camaraderie ignoring the threats of imminent strikes and annihilation red lines; and YouTube videos of Iranian families sitting spellbound in front of their satellite TVs, holding their breath to be ushered into the hall of fame by their archenemy, spiraled throughout the Internet. Once again it was clear — people will ignore the rantings of their politicians to come together in celebration of all that their humanity has in common while embracing diversity.
The Iranian PR machine predictably declared the whole thing to be a triumph over Israel – since the “Zionist Nation” was also competing in the same category. Well thank goodness for small nothings. That’s what I love about movies.
It can be all things to all people — and come Kodak day, those who lose can snub the whole thing as a meaningless self-congratulation exercise, while winners graciously fumble for words in front of a blank teleprompter basking in their two minutes of sun in front of Hollywood royalty. As for the peanut gallery, they can thank whomever they want.