Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 3: The Oath to Zanan-e badun-e mardan

March 24, 2010

Don’t cry no tears. All good things come to an end. So do our tardy previews. The New Directors/New Films festival lights up the spring season by bringing to New York the best debuts from festivals like Cannes and Sundance. In the final assortment, there’s a lauded love letter to cinema from Mia Hansen-Løve, the welcome return of Judy Berlin director Eric Mendelsohn and a notable French addition to the “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” genre.

Read the first part of our New Directors/New Films preview.
Read the second part of our New Directors/New Films preview.

The Oath

Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdan are buddies who took very different routes through al-Qaeda’s militant network. Jandal now works with Yemeni youth to temper their fundamentalism. Hamdan sits in Guantanamo, notorious as Osama bin Laden’s onetime chauffeur. The latest film from My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras is another unique look at the Middle East.

Le Pere de Mes Enfants (The Father of My Children)

French film producer Humbert Balsan helped bring works by Bela Tarr and Claire Denis to the public. His life and death inspired this acclaimed new feature from Mia Hansen-Løve, partner of Olivier Assayas. It’s a fresh take on Day for Night, with an overworked producer (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) juggling family and the fact that there isn’t enough hours in the day to achieve cinematic greatness.

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The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 1: Amer to El hombre de al lado

March 24, 2010

Continuing the tradition of previews which are barely posted before the first film premieres and then go entirely unread, we present to you the first part of our New Directors/New Films survey. The annual smorgasbord, organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, cherry-picks the festivals for the best work by first-time filmmakers. What isn’t so nice is the old couple sat behind you who keep up a running commentary throughout each film. But that’s life on the Upper West Side. In the first part of our preview, we throw some alliterative phrases at dramas set in Muslim Detroit and Iran’s border, while Bill Cunningham and Candy Darling present two different views of the greatest city in the world. Hit those titles to watch trailers and more.

Amer

For their debut feature, experimental filmmakers Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani turned to the giallo thrillers of Dario Argento and Mario Bava for inspiration. This isn’t just a spooky movie, but a coming-of-age film, as Ana suffers extreme situations at three key life stages. Amer–French for “bitter”–is less about narrative than immersing the audience in a senses-shattering sexual awakening. Game on!

Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar

At Andy Warhol’s Factory, stars-in-their-minds learned how to become real works of art. So any portrait of a Superstar has a certain sideshow interest. Famed for a reference in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” Darling turned herself from a Massapequa scamp into a blonde glamour queen who adorned Warhol’s films and even a Tennessee Williams play. Chloe Sevigny reads the late idol’s letters in James Rasin’s doc.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: 24 Beats Per Second

March 11, 2010

Closely paired with the SXSW music festival as it is, seems only fitting that the Film Festival dedicates a swathe of programming to films about music. If writing about music, though, is like dancing about architecture, than making a movie about music is like building a novel. To help you chew over that little pensee, here’s a celluloid mixtape highlighting the ethno-funk of David Byrne, the poison pen of Magnetic Fields, the rock ‘n’ roll riot of Tehran, the continental drift of Broken Social Scene and the prune juice of Levon Helm. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.

Ain’t in It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

With Robbie Robertson gone Hollywood and both Rick Danko and Robert Manuel plucking harps, it’s up to drummer Helm to shoulder The Band’s cosmic Americana spirit. This EPK highlights the creation and promotion of Helm’s acclaimed 2007 album Dirt Farmer. The irascible coot spices the brew with stories from the frontlines of addiction, pestilence and bankruptcy. Directed by Jacob Hanley Hatley.

Beyond Ipanema – Brazilian Waves in Global Music

Brazil often seems like America’s reflection on the other side of the equator. The two countries have enjoyed an uneasy cultural relationship where we give them Homer Simpson in return for Joao Gilberto. Guto Barra’s tuneful documentary charts the musical exchange, from the early days of Carmen Miranda and her fruit basket titfer to Talking Heads’ promotion of the tropicalia movement led by Caetano Veloso. Formerly known as Beyond Ipanema – America’s Love Affair With Brazilian Music.

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Trailerama: Kasi az horbehaye irani khabar nadareh (Nobody Knows About the Persian Cats)

March 5, 2010

Anvil never knew they had it so good. In Tehran, a musician can be locked up just for playing rock music. That doesn’t stop the kids from trying. Now the story of these aspiring rockers is told by Bahman Ghobadi, a Kurdish filmmaker best known for Turtles Can Fly. They face power outages, passport problems and the ever-present fear of being busted. The film is a mixture of improvisation and a script from Ghobadi’s wife Roxana Siberi. What counts is the unique spirit of rebellion it chronicles, one that recently took to the streets during Iran’s disputed elections.

Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Dokumente, Part 2

February 8, 2010

Gay life in and outside of New York dominates this year’s Dokumente sidebar. Both Rock Hudson and The Boys in the Band are placed beneath the camera lens. But if camp reappraisal isn’t your cinematic bag, then perhaps a lost Nazi propaganda film or Iran on the eve of a momentous election will be more to the taste. Too grim? In fact, the overall mood is one of celebration, whether it’s being LGBT in Israel or simply pounding the Berlin pavements.

Read the first part of our Panorama Dokumente preview here.

Hazman havarod (Gay Days)

Israel once had a reputation as a homophobic country, with police quick to crack down on gays and transsexuals with violent enthusiasm. In the last decade or so, homosexuality has been decriminalized and Israel now celebrates its gay heritage. A transsexual singer, Dana International, even won the Eurovision Song Contest for Israel in 1998. Yair Qedars examines what he calls “the pink revolution.”
Fun fact lazily taken from Wikipedia: Dana International is now a judge on Israel’s equivalent of American Idol.

I Shot My Love

A funny thing happen when director Tomer Heymann screened his last film Paper Dolls (2005) at the Berlin Film Festival. He met a German dancer, Andreas Merk, and fell in love. Merk moves to Tel Aviv to be with Tomer, but finds life in Israel difficult. The couple’s future also depends on Tomer’s patriotic mother, who is reluctant to let her son leave the country.
Fun fact lazily taken from Wikipedia: Paper Dolls took as its subject Filipino transsexuals working in Israel as caretakers for elderly Orthodox Jews.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Competition, Part 2

February 4, 2010

This year’s Berlinale features established filmmakers wandering into unfamiliar territory. Martin Scorsese gives a Dennis Lehane tale all the gaudy trappings of a Hammer horror film. Zhang Yimou puts down his ornate sword-play films for a farcical take on the Coen Brothers. 24 hour party person Michael Winterbottom even takes Texas by the tail in a full-blown film noir. Matters of faith also loom large in films from Germany, India and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Berlin is a broad church.

Read the first part of our Berlin Film Festival Competition preview.

The Killer Inside Me

Lou Ford is one of author Jim Thompson’s greatest antiheroes. Ford’s a psychotic charmer who keeps the peace in a town populated by mattress-happy dames and lowdown double-crossers. Guerilla filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (The Road to Guantanamo) isn’t everyone’s first choice to helm a Lone Star noir, but Casey Affleck seems just the right feller to fill Ford’s bloodstained boots.

Mammuth (Mammoth)

It’s easy to take Gerard Depardieu for granted, yet the shaggy icon delivers. Here he plays a worker who can’t retire until he finds his last six employers. That sends him on a journey around France astraddle his Mammoth motorcycle. Among the figures from his past is Isabelle Adjani, asleep for the last four decades. Written and directed by Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern (Louise-Michel).

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Trailerama: Frontier Blues

September 23, 2009

Life along Iran’s northern border is, we hear, a laugh a minute. Correction: Not in Babak Jalali’s debut feature. The desolate plain is populated with small disappointments, whether its a clothing store that has nothing wearable in stock, or a musician still pining for the wife who has stolen from him years ago. The formal stylistic approach evident in this trailer suggests a writer-director who has absorbed the work of filmmakers like Jarmusch. So there might even be a wry sense of humor. The use of static long shots, however, could make some audiences a little fidgety.