Thursday, November 22, 2018

Tehran Noir in Noir City

My Tehran Noir essay on Samuel Khachikian is republished in issue 25 of Noir City. More about this issue below.

"Issue 25 may be the FNF's most eclectic and wide-ranging issue yet with its focus on International Noir. Our motto, 'It's a Bitter Little World' takes on even more significance when you realize noir is not a specifically American phenomenon. As several of the features in the new issue attest, the noir ethos found expression in cinemas around the world—either contemporaneous with the artistic movement in Hollywood, or inspired by it during the years following. As examples: our cover story, by the always insightful and eloquent Imogen Sara Smith, offers an overview of Mexican Noir; Jake Hinkson offers a terrific introduction to the films of Japanese auteur Yoshitaro Nomura; Brian Light reviews Budapest Noir and interviews the film's director  Éva Gárdos; Ray Banks provides an insightful profile of actor Patrick McGoohan. We're also proud to introduce two new contributors in this issue: Ehsan Khoshbakht, co-director of the annual Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, offers a fascinating look at the career of Iranian director Samuel Khachikian, and Lisa Lieberman provides an intriguing exploration of how Hollywood exploited 'Asian exotica,' specifically in film noir. More than 100 sensational pages, including the usual stellar array of theatrical, Blu-ray/DVD and books reviews, plus an outstanding essay by Steve Kronenberg on Roger Corman's The Intruder, and the "5 Favorites" contribution by the legendary comic book writer/artist Jim Steranko. NOIR CITY Issue 25 will really broaden your dark horizons."

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Brick and Mirror (Ebrahim Golestan, 1964)

L'Arbre, le maire et la médiathèque (Éric Rohmer, 1993)

Women of All Nations (Raoul Walsh, 1931)

Programme note written for the Fox Film Corporation retrospective (curated by Dave Kehr) at Il Cinema Ritrovato 2018. E.K.

USA, 1931
Director: Raoul Walsh

Italian title.: Sempre rivali. Story: Barry Conners. Script: Barry Conners. Photography: Lucien Andriot. Editor: Jack Dennis. Art director.: David Hall. Score: Carli Elinor.
Cast: Victor McLaglen (Captain Jim Flagg), Edmund Lowe (Sergeant Harry Quirt), Greta Nissen (Elsa), El Brendel (Olsen), Fifi D'Orsay (Fifi), Marjorie White (Margie), Jesse De Vorska (Izzy Kaplan), Marion Lessing (Gretchen), T. Roy Barnes (Captain of the Marines), Bela Lugosi (Prince Hassan). Production: Fox Film Corporation

During the closing years of the silent era, Walsh met with great success for his depiction of the rivalry between two U.S. Marine officers in What Price Glory? (1926). Nevertheless the director felt some dissatisfaction: in the absence of sound, the sharpness of the film's dialogue was lost in the intertitles. In the early 1930s, Walsh returned to the same characters, Jim Flagg and Harry Quirt, first in The Cock-Eyed World (1929) and then Women of All Nations, by which time the focus had shifted from war and military life to sex and comedy – yet the two seem to be intertwined. In the latter film Walsh frames a WWI trench and a line of bare female legs with the same type of dazzling tracking shot. Both are associated with mobility too. As the Marines are sent on missions to different countries, where they encounter women, a Swedish dancer enjoys her own freedom of movement, with her own ‘weapons’ to help her.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Three Questions

این‌ها پاسخ‌های من به سه پرسش مجلۀ 24 برای شمارۀ صدم این مجله بود.

آیا هنوز عشقِ سينما هستيد؟
این سوالی است که سال‌هاست از خودم نمی‌پرسم. سینما امروز بیشتر برایم یک ضرورت است. مطمئن نیستم که «عشق سینما» باشم به خصوص این‌که از داشتن طبع عاشق‌پیشگان محرومم - اما دیدن، نمایش دادن و نوشتن دربارۀ فیلم‌ها در هر شکل و طول و فرم و کاربردی حرفۀ اصلی من است؛ نان‌ام را از سینما درمی‌آورم و دربرگۀ مالیات‌ام حرفه‌ام سینما آمده. اگر «عشق سینما» نباشم نمی‌دانم عشق چه‌ هستم. آیا از دندان‌پزشک‌ها هم سؤال می‌کنید «هنوز عشق دندان‌پزشکی هستید؟»

Now I'll Tell (Edwin J. Burke, 1934)

USA, 1934
Director: Edwin J. Burke

Alternative title.: When New York Sleeps. Story.: Mrs. Arnold Rothstein. Script.: Edwin J. Burke. DP.: Ernest Palmer. Edit.: Harold D. Schuster. Art director.: Jack Otterson. Music.: Arthur Lange.
Cast: Spencer Tracy (Murray Golden), Helen Twelvetrees (Virginia Golden), Alice Faye (Peggy Warren), Robert Gleckler (Al Mossiter), Henry O'Neill (Tommy Doran), Hobart Cavanaugh (Freddie), Shirley Temple (Mary Doran), Leon Ames (Max), G. P. Huntley (Hart), Ray Cooke (Eddie Traylor). Production: Fox Film Corporation

The story of the ‘biggest gambler in New York’, charting his rise and fall between 1909 and 1928. A tale of affairs, gambling addiction and gang rivalry, Now I’ll Tell is based on the life of Arnold Rothstein, a notorious and well-connected gangster who was also the inspiration for Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby. The film is more closely connected with real events, being written by ‘Mrs. Arnold Rothstein’, a pseudonym of Carolyn Greene (later Carolyn Rothstein Behar), the gangster’s widow.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Holy Matrimony (John Stahl, 1943)

USA, 1943 Dir: John M. Stahl

Italian title.: Una moglie in più. Story.: Buried Alive by Arnold Bennett. Script.: Nunnally Johnson. Director of photography.: Lucien Ballard. Editing.: James B. Clark. Art directors.: James Basevi, J. Russell Spencer. Musis.: Cyril J. Mockridge.
Cast.: Monty Woolley (Priam Farll), Gracie Fields (Alice Chalice), Laird Cregar (Clive Oxford), Una O'Connor (Sarah Leek), Alan Mowbray (Mr. Pennington), Franklin Pangborn (Duncan Farll), George Zucco (Mr. Crepitude), Eric Blore (Henry Leek).
Prod.: 20th Century Fox

In 1905, Priam Farll, a nationally celebrated English painter who has been living in seclusion on a remote tropical island, is drawn back to civilisation having received notice from the king of England that he is to be honoured with a knighthood. Upon his arrival in London, Farll's loyal valet Leek unexpectedly dies. By a curious mix of honest mistake and mischief, Farll swaps his identity for the dead valet’s, which leads to chaos, confusion and trickery. All attempts to correct are ineffective: people believe what they want to believe.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Il Cinema Ritrovato XXXII: All the films or anything that can be projected onto a screen

Il Cinema Ritrovato kicks off on June 23. Here is (a nearly complete) list of the 500 titles to be shown during the 8-day feast, organised in both chronological and alphabetical orders.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Underline#3: The English Edition

This issue of Underline, focusing on Iranian female artists of the past half-century, could be our most urgent work to date. There is no exaggeration in the cover title (picture above): the positive role of women in shaping the history of modern Iran has been staggering. While Underline’s inclination towards the arts necessarily leaves out of the picture the significant contributions made by women in the fields of education, science, politics and the economy, I am confident that this fact will be confirmed to anybody reading the articles featured here.

In the main, our celebration of women’s creativity favours the interview format. We have had the honour and pleasure of speaking with some of the most remarkable Iranian artists, who have narrated their life histories and revealed key ideas behind some of their finest work for our readers. You can find more interviews on our website, to complement the theme of this issue.

Before we get to the interviews, we feature eight articles on the careers of numerous artists. The approach taken by our contributors is varied, with new canons of major figures in theatre and film as well as in-depth criticism of developments in the work of individual artists, or in a particular medium. The seven interviews that follow expand on some of the ideas in those articles, and occasionally contradict the readings offered.

Underline#3: The Farsi Edition

این شماره شاید ضروری‌ترین شمارۀ دورۀ جدید آندرلاین باشد. در پروندۀ ویژۀ این شماره تمرکز بر زنان هنرآفرین در ایران نیم قرن گذشته است. در عنوان روی
جلد هیچ اغراقی در کار نیست: نقش زنان در ایران دورۀ مدرن خیره‌کننده بوده و تازه به خاطر گرایش ویژۀ ما به هنر، نقش زنان در آموزش، علم، صنعت، سیاست و تجارت در نظر گرفته نشده است.
این شماره هم‌چنین تا حد زیادی متکی بر شنیدن صدای خود زنان هنرمند است و مصاحبه، فرم غالب متون پیش روی شما خواهد بود. این فرصت و افتخار را داشته‌ایم تا با چند نسل از زنان هنرمند در حوزه‌های مختلف به گفت‌وگو بنشینیم. در وبسایت ما گفت‌وگوهای بیشتری در تکمیل موضوع این شماره پیدا خواهید کرد.
هشت مقاله اول دیدگاه‌های کلی یا جزیی نویسندگانش از حضور و تأثیر زنان فعال در معماری، سینما، تئاتر و هنرهای تجسمی هستند. هفت متنی که در پی آن می‌آیند، مصاحبه‌هایی در تکمیل یا گسترش و چه بسا در تعارض با تئوری‌های بخش اول است. در این بخش از اولین رهبر ارکستر زن در ایران تا چند نفر از شناخته شده‌ترین نویسندگان، فیلمسازان و هنرمندان تجسمی با آندرلاین گفت‌وگو کرده‌اند. مضمون این شماره به کنار، بیشتر همکاران و نویسندگان و مترجمانی که در تهیه این شماره با ما کار کرده‌اند زنان هستند و من بسیار از دقت نظر و حرفه‌ای‌گری آن‌ها بهره برده‌ام.