Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Hills of Marlik (Ebrahim Golestan, 1963)

The Hills of Marlik 
The restored version of The Hills of Marlik plays at Venice Classics 2019.

TAPPEHA-YE MARLIK [The Hills of Marlik]
Iran, 1963/1964, Director: Ebrahim Golestan

Alternative title: The Elements. Script.: Ebrahim Golestan. Director of photography: Soleiman Minassian. Editing: Ebrahim Golestan. Composer: Morteza Hannaneh. Voice-over.: Brian Spooner (English voice-over), Ebrahim Golestan (Farsi voice-over). Prod.: Golestan Film Studio [aka Golestan Film Unit]

A 3,000-year-old site in the north of Iran is simultaneously excavated by archaeologists and fertilized by farmers. Another example of Golestan’s documentary work about classical elements, in which the past touches the present, and there is a clear continuity among the forms of human life detected by the camera, as it breathes life into dead objects.

Filmfarsi is My One-Dollar Movie [An Unpublished Interview]

Marjan (left) and Nasser Malek Motie

Upon Filmfarsi's world premiere in Bristol, July 2019, an online journal interviewed me about my film. They never ran it so I decided it to publish it here. — EK

How does it feel to be having your World Premiere at Watershed?

I like that place and the people who run it. Been there almost every year for the past 3 years especially when they started Cinema Rediscovered (which is inspired after Il Cinema Ritrovato) so it's kind of an ideal place to open the film in the UK. Many Ritrovato comrades will be there which makes me feel pretty much at home again.

This has been a four-year journey for you, what does it mean for you to be sharing this film, and your journey, with a festival audience?

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Gozaresh [The Report] (Abbas Kiarostami, 1977)

Kuosh Afsharpanah and Shohre Aghdashloo in The Report

Playing this weekend at ICF Center in New York.

The Report [original title: Gozaresh]

Abbas Kiarostami • Iran 1977 • 1h49m • Persian with English subtitles • Cast: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Kurosh Afsharpanah, Mehdi Montazar, Mostafa Tari, Hashem Arkan.

Arguably Kiarostami's least-known great film, part of the difficultly in accessing this compelling marriage drama lies in the fact that it was screened in Iran during the last months of the Pahlavi reign, when the country was gripped by strikes, demonstrations and acts of revolutionary violence – hardly the time for cinema, even if the film did relatively well. Shortly afterwards, when the revolution succeeded, the film – like so many other Iranian films showing nudity, sex or even unveiled women – was banned. The original elements of the film believed to be destroyed during the revolution and the copies in circulation have an unexpected cut in the middle of a scene of intimacy between the two leading characters, suggesting that it has been cut out after the revolution.

According to Iranian film critic Nima Hassani-Nasab, the film was totally conscious of the chaos which lay ahead: "The characters of the film are torn between a desire to revolt on one hand and cowardice and social inaction on the other. This conflict plunges them into dissatisfaction and fills them with hatred for both themselves and the repetitious cycle of life they live."