Archive for December 16th, 2011


by Allan Fish

(Iran 2011 121m) DVD1/2

Aka. Jodaeiye Nazer az Simin

A trip to the doctor’s

p  Ashgar Farhadi  d/w  Ashgar Farhadi  ph  Mahmoud Kalari  ed  Hayedeh Safayari  m  Sattar Oraki  art  Keyvan Moghaddam 

Peyman Moaadi (Nader), Leila Hatami (Simin), Sareh Bayat (Razieh), Shahab Hosseini (Hodjat), Sarina Farhadi (Termeh), Merila Zara’i (Miss Ghahraii), Ali-Ashgar Sharbazi (Nader’s father), Babak Karimi (judge), Kimia Hosseini (Somayeh),

Consider the talents that Iranian cinema has thrown up over the last twenty-five years; of Abbas Kiarostami, their great colossus, of Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf, of Bahman Gobadhi, of Jafar Penahi.  All have illuminated a small corner of an otherwise unseen world, a country whose political relations with the west have been, at best, shaky for over 30 years.  To this list one can add Ashgar Farhadi who may just have even given us a film that tops the lot. 

            It opens on a couple, Nader and Simin, who are at a hearing because the former wants a divorce.  She wants to leave Iran with her daughter because she thinks her daughter would be better off abroad.  He won’t go with them because he has a father suffering with Alzheimer’s who he can’t leave.  When the divorce is refused, she feels she has little choice but to take a break for a couple of weeks and leaves him and their 11 year old daughter Termeh.  This means that Nader needs to get a helper in to look after his father while he goes to work.  They get in Razieh, who needs the money to pay her husband’s debts accrued since he lost his job.  One day, however, she leaves because she has to go to the doctor’s and leaves the old man tied up on the bed.  Nader returns to find him locked in his room and fallen off the floor, barely breathing.  When Razieh comes back, finding that money is also missing, Nader throws Razieh out, but in doing so, she apparently gets an ailment that causes a miscarriage. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(India 1957 141m) DVD1/2

How can I sing of joy and live in pain?

p  Guru Dutt  d  Guru Dutt  w  Abrar Alvi  ph  V.K.Murthy  ed  Y.G.Chawhan  m/ly  Sachin Dev Burman, Sahir Ludhianvi  art  Biren Nag

Guru Dutt (Vijay), Mala Sinha (Meena), Waheeda Rehman (Gulabo), Rehman (Mr Ghosh), Johnny Walker (Abdul Sattar), Kumkum (Juhi), Leela Mishra (Vijay’s mother),

In the same year as Mother India, often referred to as the Gone With the Wind of Indian cinema, Guru Dutt set about making a different sort of musical extravaganza.  For starters, extravaganza is not a word one could really associate with it; it’s subdued, dark even, for a Bollywood movie.  Dutt’s world was not escapist, and though his films are still punctuated by the songs that turn many people off the entire genre – myself included in the vast majority of cases – they are of such sombre feeling, that they seem less intrusive, less outrageous than in other films.

Pyaasa is the tale of Vijay, a young poet who, despite a college education, can find no-one to publish his poems.  His brothers ridicule and despise him and, despite his mother’s love, he’s forced to leave home.  He even finds that his work has been sold on to a scrap paper merchant, and from there picked up by a young prostitute, Gulabo, who connects deeply with them.  When he comes looking for them, however, she at first doesn’t realise he is actually the author of them and sends him packing.  But they meet again, fall in love, but an accident involving a beggar and his coat leads people to believe Vijay is dead and the publisher does everything in his power to have Vijay committed as a fraud when he turns up after the poems are published and a great success. (more…)

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