White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

2 Movies

After some weeks, finally this weekend got a chance to watch two good movies:

Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 2002)

I always respect Kiarostami for his early works (before 1989) about children and also 2 other works: Close up and Life & Nothing More. I should also add several of his screenplays that have been filmed by other people. But I never enjoyed any of the movies that he made between 1992 and 2002. Actually these movies were the one which brought him world class fame and many prestigious prizes like the Golden Palm of the Cannes. But I always respect his independent view and continuous search for presenting an alternative view about realities in life. And in his recent work (Ten), I once again enjoyed his skills in creating an alternative narrative of daily life.

Ten which is in 10 episodes, is story couple of women in Tehran from different class levels of the society. It pictures complexities of the middle class life in a society which is going through the battle of tradition and modernism and to some extent presents the strength and weaknesses of each side in dealing with complications of life. Like most of his movies, Kiarostami is able to catch a great performance from all of the actresses. His attempt to keep the plot completely inside a car works great and the movies keeps the audience focused till end. The DVD release of the film includes a long documentary about the production of Ten which is an interesting interview with Kiarostami about his cinema. One interesting point that he mentioned was the advantages that he's been able to gain from the Digital cinematography in removing many of the formal barriers between the documentary subject and camera. That has helped him a lot to catch a great performance from non-professional actors and regular people who act in his films.

Sea Inside-Mar adentro (Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar, Spain, 2004)

Sea Inside has a very strong story line filled with the concepts of death and life. The movie is about a man who is paralyzed and wants to legally end his life after 28 years of bearing with his slow paced life. For him the ideal is death and he works hard to convince a range people from his traditional brother to state level politician about that life is a choice for a human. Although the movie touches the political debates of the church and prolife-prochoice discussions, but distances itself from being a tribune for social and political discussions. The irony and beauty of this film is that the story is about death, but the film is so much filled about the beauty of life and the way that human make it a complex phenomena. The actings are superb. Specially Javier Bardem with his unique smile which presents his internal pain. The movie has couple of masterpiece sequences that truly shocked me. Probably the most amazing one was the scene that we see how the main character is paralyzed. I had previously seen "Open your eyes" from AmenĂ¡bar which was a creative and unique work on some metaphysical ideas, but left me with headache and lot of confusions. But "See Inside" left me with tears, not because of sadness of a death, but because of a beautiful picture about love and life.
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