This is a short film that demonstrates the power of good screen writing.

Nader and Simin a separation (film review)

nader_simin by doodle_juice
nader_simin, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Iranian drama Nader and Simin: A Separation won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival.
Director Asghar Farhadi‘s film, which also took the best acting prizes, tells the story of a troubled marriage.
In a repressed Iran, cinema has become very expressive of social ills but not being free to use an open language it uses complex plots and at times it uses what I would call a void of view.

This film says more about a broken society that has class and gender conflicts than a broken marriage.

On one side we have Simin who wants the family to move abroad so that her daughter can have a future on the other Nader is obliged to stay and care for his elderly incontinent father and battles whatever the society and consequence throws at him.

The couple are portrayed as intelligent caring people and in many ways they are supportive of each other and amicable.

What is not expressed (perhaps due to censorship) is why a caring, intelligent mother who herself is attached to care for Nader’s elderly father (we hear the elderly Alzheimer ridden father mistaking others for Simin) and passionate about her culture wants to leave Iran as an act of saving her daughter’s future.

We witness Nader a middle class well-educated man not having any support from the society in caring for his father. Consequently he hires an unsuitable carer a pregnant woman whose husband has become unemployed being forced to take on such a responsibility and her inability and knowledge leads to a twist of conflicts between genders and social classes.

The eleven-year-old child who gets caught in the middle of these conflicts learns to grow up fast and like many Iranians leads a double life when facing authorities or in her case the judiciary.

Overall this film is outstanding for the screenplay, directing and acting. The dialogue, storyline is excellent and expressive of the reality of the life of many Iranians.

This is not a one off excellent film from Iran, and if you like good films then I recommend films by such directors as Farhadi as well as Panahi who has a similar style but alas is currently kept as a political prisoner.

Elena Anaya

elena-anaya-pose-ea057 by doodle_juice
elena-anaya-pose-ea057, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

I’m a fan of Pedro Almodóvar‘s dark writing and directing (my own short stories are dark but in comparison I would throw the white towel!). No one makes films like he does. However, you shouldn’t watch his movies if you are squeamish.

We rented “The skin I live in” two nights ago.

One added bonus about watching “The skin I live in” was being mesmerised by Elena Anaya‘s beauty. My wife was beginning to get annoyed when the next day I kept talking and talking about the film.

She said right it wasn’t the bloody movie was it, it was the girl you can’t get her out of your head! ( Don’t get the wrong idea I am faithful to her,  readers I give you the right to throw rotten tomatoes I should keep such enthusiasm to myself but I do reserve my right at least as an Artist to be obsessed with beauty wherever I find it!)

The truth is Elena Anaya looked exactly like a 21-year-old teacher I had when I was eleven years old. Don’t think it was lucky. It was torture!

I guess it just shows that the faces you love keep finding you throughout life.

There is a fantastic twist to the movie which would make most men go “Ouch!” but I’m not going to spoil it for you.

Emilie (Audrey Tautou) puts all her heart into running her busy hairdressing salon in sunny South of France. Meanwhile, her mother (Nathalie Baye), has had her heart broken, and needs love. When Emilie starts receiving anonymous love letters, she decides to send them on to her mother, sparking confusion, complications and dilemmas when the secret admirer (Sami Bouajila) is revealed. A refreshing comedy of errors from the director of Priceless and the star of Amelie and Coco before Chanel.

This is a fun RomCom. Many who come and see the film because of Audrey Tauto’s charming Amelie character could be disappointed as she plays a convincing frigid woman but the film is worth the ticket. Nathalie Baye and Sami Bouajila also give a great performance.

Pirates of Caribbean 4

MermaidsFB175 by doodle_juice
MermaidsFB175, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

I’ve just been to see the latest part of Pirates of Caribbean. It was more of the same but still entertaining. Johnny Depp, and Jeffrey Rush still deliver and I can’t help always liking Penelope Cruze no matter what she does! Jack Sparrow is not as popular but he still has the charm.I’m not sure if 3D adds any value to these films but at least with the improvement on the technology you don’t leave the cinema with a headache. The adventure this time lacked the electricity between the characters and watching previous sequels watching the sword fighting for couple of hours can become tedious. One thing about this part was that it seemed like part one of a new series but this time with Cruze. Who knows perhaps just like Bond movies we might see Jack sparrow reincarnations in 25 years time!

A new twist on making the film more interesting was adding the beautiful but deadly mermaids. Watching very beautiful women turn vicious somehow reminded me of some of my Exes!

Pina (film review)

Ditta-Miranda-Jasifi-in-a-007 by doodle_juice
Ditta-Miranda-Jasifi-in-a-007, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Almost like an act of worship the late Pina Bausch’s dance group “Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch” recreate very beautiful movements on an empty stage, on the street and in sites with an industrial factories.
Bausch was a distinguished German modern dance choreographer and a leading influence in the development of the Tanztheater style of dance. The film is made by film-maker Wim Wenders who started shortly after Bausch’s death from cancer. He uses 3D for this film and often uses close shots to bring to life the gestural aspect of these dance performances.
Of all the art forms I am perhaps less familiar with dance, and I found the combination of various routines and the dancer’s interview and their experience of lovingly remembering Pina very touching and appealing.
What comes out of the film is the character of Pina with her humour, and being unconventional, taking risk like a child and being incredibly imaginative in making up movements that seem very original.
I also liked the message in the trailer “Is it dance? Is it theatre or is it life?”



, a set on Flickr.

Barbarella is a 1968 science fiction film based on the French Barbarella comics created by Jean-Claude Forest. The film was directed by Roger Vadimand stars Jane Fonda, who was Vadim’s wife at the time. With its mix of cult type plot, humour and Jane Fonda’s drop dead gorgeous looks it soon became a cult classic. A product of 60’s carefree sexuality and based on a French comic book It left it’s mark on popular culture. The music band Duran Duran took the name from one of the characters Durand Durand. Some of the ideas such as the one that future humans prefer to take some transference pills and touch palms as a form of having intercourse when their “psychocardiograms are in perfect harmony” were partially borrowed by other films such as woody Allen’s sleeper.
The whole film is played in a tongue-in-cheek manner; especially when it comes to the frequent (but not explicit) sex scenes. The most controversial of those scenes involves Barbarella being tortured by the use of an organ-like instrument that delivers sexual pleasure in doses that can be lethal, although Barbarella survives the ordeal and is visibly disappointed when it is discovered she has overloaded the machine.
Rumour has it that there is going to a remake soon, I hope Hollywood doesn’t spoil this classic as it often does. We have to thank the French for the original in many ways and I hope a remake remains true to the mad quirky, funny plot as well as the more sexually charged aspects of it, that often get brushed off to make a remake a more for the bigger market.

Minimalist design Of Iranian TV, Cinema and Radio

daee-jan-napoleanmorad-barghishabakeh sefrsultan saheb gharantalkh o shirintalagh
rangarangpahlavan_nayebradio daryagolhakaaf_showjomeh_bazar

Minimalist design, a set on Flickr.

Now that I have finished the series, here they are in one place.

Aghay Haloo (The simpleton)

aghay haloo by doodle_juice
aghay haloo, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Translated as Mr Simpleton, this was an early Iranian new wave cinema and a black comedy. Played by Art cinema and theatre actor Ali Nassirian, the film was made by Darius Mahrjoobi who made Ghav ( The cow) and by doing so started the new wave cinema of Iran. The story is about a man who travels from a city to the Capital to find a suitable wife, and when his luggage is stolen he meets and falls for a girl who later gets him into questionable financial transactions, and turns out to be a working girl in what seems like a brothel. Heartbroken the man who is beaten up by the girl’s pimp/boyfriend returns home. The film represented the cultural gap that had emerged between traditional and modern Iran.Nassirian played in many films that dealt with this theme and other social issues such as the gap between classes and the rich and the poor. To make this poster I used question marks to represent his lack of knowledge and gullibility, I used them to make a flower bouquet to represent his questionable tactic of searching for romance.


Hamsafar by doodle_juice
Hamsafar, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

A popular and commercially successful film, Hamsafar had two of the most popular Iranian Artists i.e. Googoosh and Behrooz Vosooghi who were also for that phase a real life couple playing the lead roles.

The story was about a young rich girl being deceived in love, running away and then in a situation comedy a rugged hero is commissioned to find her. In the process class barriers are broken and they fall in love.

Hamsafar means fellow traveller.

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