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  1. 27 May '11 08:19
    http://youtu.be/lNMekgoCCVY

    I spent Tuesday night at some friends’ home in Eureka. They had rented the Illusionist which was made by the same guy tho did the Belleville Triplets. Honestly, I’ve read and heard all the hoopla, and while the art is striking, I find both to be a bit indulgent in the weird without substance and neither really took me anywhere.

    The Illusionist is a tribute to French mime-like comedy actor Jacques Tati, and maybe if I had ever seen those films the context would have rooted in me a great appreciation for The Illusionist. But I have not, so it did not.

    The previews however drew my interest in the film and graphic novels Persepolis, of which I strangely never heard. It’s an autobiographical piece about an Iranian daughter of communists who were initially sanguine about the Iranian revolution, but ended up sending their daughter to Europe – rendering her even less suitable for Iranian life. It’s on my Netflix queue now.

    A couple of film notes

    May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized | Tags: film | by Eric Kirk | 6 comments (Edit)

    I spent Tuesday night at some friends’ home in Eureka. They had rented the Illusionist which was made by the same guy tho did the Belleville Triplets. Honestly, I’ve read and heard all the hoopla, and while the art is striking, I find both to be a bit indulgent in the weird without substance and neither really took me anywhere.

    The Illusionist is a tribute to French mime-like comedy actor Jacques Tati, and maybe if I had ever seen those films the context would have rooted in me a great appreciation for The Illusionist. But I have not, so it did not.

    The previews however drew my interest in the film and graphic novels Persepolis, of which I strangely never heard. It’s an autobiographical piece about an Iranian daughter of communists who were initially sanguine about the Iranian revolution, but ended up sending their daughter to Europe – rendering her even less suitable for Iranian life. It’s on my Netflix queue now.

    I’ve written a few other posts about Iranian film, in which brilliant art slips through the censors. If Iran can free itself from the current burden, the Renaissance will probably be something to behold.
  2. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    27 May '11 10:07
    It's a visually brilliant little film but I also found it quite preachy and not as subtle as I would like it to be. Well worth a watch, though.
  3. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    27 May '11 11:16
    Originally posted by Kunsoo
    http://youtu.be/lNMekgoCCVY

    I spent Tuesday night at some friends’ home in Eureka. They had rented the Illusionist which was made by the same guy tho did the Belleville Triplets. Honestly, I’ve read and heard all the hoopla, and while the art is striking, I find both to be a bit indulgent in the weird without substance and neither really took me anywhere ...[text shortened]... n can free itself from the current burden, the Renaissance will probably be something to behold.
    I've yet to see The Illusionist, mainly because I wasn't massively impressed by Belleville Rendezvous (as you say, while pretty it was rather slight). But since it is set here in Edinburgh, I expect I'll get round to it eventually...

    And Persepolis has been sitting unwatched on my hard-drive for months and months. I do keep meaning to watch it - thanks for reminding me...
  4. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    27 May '11 12:27
    Personally, I can't wait to see whether Troll Hunter will raise the bar for Norwegian cinema even higher than Dead Snow.
  5. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    27 May '11 12:53
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Personally, I can't wait to see whether Troll Hunter will raise the bar for Norwegian cinema even higher than Dead Snow.
    Amen!
  6. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    27 May '11 17:52
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Amen!
    Ditto!
  7. 27 May '11 22:29
    Originally posted by Palynka
    It's a visually brilliant little film but I also found it quite preachy and not as subtle as I would like it to be. Well worth a watch, though.
    I would imagine it is preachy, since is it autobiographical, and if there is any correlation to the woman's real life, she probably would have needed some moral clarity to find her "eye of the tiger," even if she had to set up her own framework. Just what I know of the story is pretty incredible, and the didacticism seems forgivable if it is an earnest expression of her experience.
  8. 27 May '11 22:33
    As for subtlety in Iranian cinema, I strongly recommend Baran (Rain) put together and directed by Majid Maradi. He also directed The Color of Paradise and I wonder how films like that one and Strawberry and Chocolate (from Cuba) could slip through their respective censors. Maradi must have friends in high places to have slipped Baran through.

    I wrote the following as a review some years back.

    Baran is a romance set in a heavily social-stratified Iranian setting – Afghan refugees from the various wars serving as the country’s wetbacks. The story was told in 2001 and intended to be contemporary, which makes the film even more potent knowing that a huge disruption to Afghanis was only months away. The initial setting is a construction site which illegally employs Afghans without the proper permits. One of them is badly hurt. Facing aggravation of an already extremely impoverished situation, the man’s daughter obtains work at the same site disguised as a boy. The Iranian “hero” Lateef at first resents her for reasons you will learn, but then discovers her identity and falls in love. A good portion of the movie consists of an impossible courtship with no possibilities as would be satisfactory for American cinema. You’re presented with an inevitable heartbreak scenario as really there’s no way to turn and no forseeable ending which wouldn’t betray the harsh realism of the film.

    In American cinema loves triumphs over all. Well, actually, love triumphs all in this movie as well. Obviously it won’t take you where you might want to go, and for much of the movie you’re wondering just where it will go. But as Mary Poppins said, “enough is a feast.” You might say that the film lacks the optimism of transcendence in western cinema, but it doesn’t need to because the romance is consummated in the purity of the eternal moment. The tragedy is transcended because it’s not rooted in expectation. They know how they feel, and their circumstances don’t change anything about it.

    The backdrop is a harsh social criticism of the Iranian social system and even in a small way policy. But there are no bad guys. Even the government immigration agents and the exploitative boss have souls, and there are codes of honor which also transcend the particulars of the situation, even if they’re strictly compartmentalized. There are acceptable ways to exploit, deceive, and even steal, and there are lines that don’t get crossed.

    And there is plenty of forshadowing and metaphor in the scenery and setting to keep a film class occupied. The low tech construction site which doesn’t seem to make much progress, but holds and promise of the creation of something new, blend a fatalism with hope.

    Check it out. It’ll take you somewhere you haven’t been before. Guaranteed.
  9. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    31 May '11 09:14
    Originally posted by Kunsoo
    I would imagine it is preachy, since is it autobiographical, and if there is any correlation to the woman's real life, she probably would have needed some moral clarity to find her "eye of the tiger," even if she had to set up her own framework. Just what I know of the story is pretty incredible, and the didacticism seems forgivable if it is an earnest expression of her experience.
    Well said.
  10. 10 Jun '11 07:37
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Well said.
    Thanks. I watched it last night, and it is extremely powerful. No, it wasn't subtle. But her life wasn't subtle.