Photo: Tom Pollock, Annette Bening, Frank Pierson, Ellen Harrington, Alfre Woodard and Bill Horberg in Persepolis, Shiraz - March 2009. | Photo by: Hamidreza Pournasiri | Related post

The Sad Case of David Fincher

April 23, 2009

The sad thing about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is its director, David Fincher. I like the movie but when it comes from Fincher I expect to see more than a good film.
It's the sad part, I don't see that Fincher who made Se7en and Fight Club in recent years. He has changed to an ordinary director, someone like Ron Howard or Peter Weir.

10 Days in Iran

March 12, 2009

The most amazing thing I've ever done in my short life was being with the delegation of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Iran as their guide and interpreter. [+related article]
The president of Academy, Sid Ganis, the ex-president of Academy and the legendary writer, Frank Pireson, three-time Oscar nominee, Annette Bening, the head of Universal Pictures for ten years, Tom Pollock, the famous independent producer, Bill Horberg, five-time Emmy winner, Alfre Woodard, the Oscar nominee writer and director, Phil Robinson, the Oscar-nominee documentary filmmaker, James Longley and the director of exhibitions and special events for the Academy, Ellen Harrington came to Iran and had several meetings and seminars with the Iranian moviemakers.

As a film critic and a journalist, it was a great opportunity for me to meet these great people from the other side of the world. But I really didn't expect to meet such friendly and lovely artists like them. 10 days living with them, brought me a new vision of life & art. All of them were so warm and respectful to us and now I have 9 great friends in the United States who are the most amazing people I've ever met.

After about 3 months working on this project, I'm not tired at all. I'm so excited of having known them.

Update: [Sid Ganis & Annette Bening talk about their trip to Iran | Hollywood Reporter]

Vicky or Cristina?

January 10, 2009

As a big fan of Woody Allen, I believe that Vicky Cristina Barcelona is one of his best movies. Specially after he changed his way of movie-making since Melinda&Melinda and Match Point. He is the best of telling stories about people and relationships and his movies' characters are real. They think and act like ordinary people and this makes Allen's works more important than the others'.

Vicky... is about our ambition to have different relationships. There's a fact that nobody is satisfied of what he/she has, all of us like to have something we don't have. In relationships, it happens a lot. When you're with someone, you always think about other possibilities, and depends on your manner, it can make you a successful person in romance-relations or not. In the movie, Cristina is so curious and likes to experience different and new situations, but Vicky is totally opposite of her best friend. She is engaged to marry her fiance, who seems to be a ideal match. But in their summer trip to Spain, they meet a painter who ask both of them to date. Cristina likes the idea but Vicky doesn't...

I don't want to retell the story, you should watch it if you haven't yet, but the most important part of the movie is its end, while Vicky and Cristina are going back to NY, Vicky is with his man and with a fear of her marriage's future, but Cristina is looking for new men... but she stays alone at the end.
There's no way to say which one is better.

Mad Men

January 31, 2009

In recent years American tv shows have been so popular in Iran. Friends, Lost, 24, Prison Break and Heroes are the most successful ones which you can easily find full series of them all over the Persian web-space. But Mad Men hasn't been a popular one yet, and I guess it'll be more famous here in coming years. I like the atmosphere of the show - set in 1960s New York, stories of a group of men who work in an advertising agency - and the characters. Of course the 1st season didn't make me a fan, but watching season 2 - which finished today - was a exciting experience. Both of seasons have been awarded in Golden Globes as the best drama show, and no doubt it'll be more seasons coming.
So if you're looking for a good tv show and interested in Kennedy/Nixon's age, I strongly recommend you to watch Mad Men.

My favorite characters are Don, his wife and Joan. And I really hate Peggy and Campbell!

Cho's Manifesto

December 30, 2008

Besides my interests in Mohammad Rahmanian's plays, I admire his courage for experiencing new ways. His latest play, named Cho's Manifesto, is a good sample for his curiosity of new experiences. The play is about Virginia Tech massacre, and tells the story of some actors who try to retell the massacre.
In my opinion it's not one of Rahmanian's top works, although it has some brilliant moments, but the whole play is not great. Maybe it's because of the language - all the dialogues are in English - or the actors - who are not as well as I expected - but the whole idea, which is coming from our traditional plays named Ta'zieh, worth to see it. So if you're in Tehran, I recommend you not to miss this play.

Yes, They can!

November 5, 2008

Wow! At least Obama won the United States' presidential election and now he's the 'Mr. President'. It just reminded me Iran's 1997 election, and the day Mr. Khatami was elected as the first reformist president of Iran. Women and youth people were the major supporters of Khatami, just like Obama. Those days were full of hope and change - which I don't hope to experience again here in coming years - but now, the Americans are feeling all the same feelings.

P.S. It's wonderful! Most of Iranian bloggers are so happy because of Obama's win. I don't know if this will change America-Iran relationships, but most of recent posts posted in Persian blogsphere are full of wows and congrats!
It's not usual at all! I feel so good of that.

P.P.S. What a small world we live in! I have a British/Iranian friend who told me today's election reminded her Tony Blainr's victory in 1997.

Canaan, The City of Dreams

October 28, 2008

'Canaan' tells the story of a woman whose life seems to be boring and unendurable to her. She lives with her husband, who is about 10-15 years older than her, and with no kid. Also they are wealthy and live in a building in north of Tehran. But the problem is not her husband or anything from their relationship, the problem comes from inside her... she wants to be free. And in a scene of the movie, Mina (the woman) tells her husband sometimes she doesn't like to wake up at morning and says hi to another man (any man).

But this plot is not the reason I'm recommending you to watch Canaan, I want to talk about the way director has chosen to tell the story. Mani Haghighi (director) doesn't like to give lots of information on the main characters, and he prefers to inform you about their history during the story. Mina and her husband, have a close friend named Ali, who seems to have had a relationship with Mina before their marriage, but the story is not clear about that. We get that during a conversation which Ali is talking about a girl who left him to marry with an older guy, and this changed his life. But the movie is clear about Mina's ambition to Ali's lifestyle, who is poor, but hasn't changed during these years. In a scene at the beginning of the movie, she goes to Ali's home - when he is not there - and calms down for a while by walking in there.

And the end of movie is the best part of it in my opinion, because there's no ending in fact! Mina decides to stay with her husband, but he asks her to think more on this. The way she has decided not to leave him, is not that it should be. In fact the story is not about a couple's relationship, it's about our dreams, ambitions and the lifestyle we choose. There's nobody in the world who likes the way he/she lives and all of us are dreaming for lives we could have... Canaan is talking about this and there's no ending for this story.

P.S. The movie's title refers to an ancient city named Canaan.
P.P.S. Canaan is based on a short story by Alice Munro.

Sonata for a Good Man

December 5, 2007

The Lives of Others’ tells a story of a secret policeman and a playwright in East Germany, in 1980s. The policeman has been ordered to spy on the writer and reports his daily life. He began on spying and does it every day and night, but during this job he becomes interested in the writer and tries to save his life by reporting false events.

The beginning minutes of the movie – which was honored as the best foreign language movie at this year’s Academy Awards (Oscar) – portraits a serious intelligence service officer who believes in his job and duty, with no emotions and respect to humanity. So choosing him as the devil part of the story is the easiest thing you can do in the first 10 minutes. Specially when he sleeps with a prostitute and asks her to stay more beside him, nobody will feel sorrow for the police officer. But you will blame yourself for this at the end of the story! The policeman shows his real nature during the movie.

The story is so sad; thinking about the lives of people that are being wasted by some dictators is so annoying and watching a woman who sleeps with a government to protect her man, is not an interesting thing. But the hope and honesty you find in the main characters make you happy. When at the end of the movie, a colleague tells to the policeman about the Berlin’s Wall fall, and he leaves his job and goes out, you can feel how much he is happy. You can feel he has been freed. Even if you’ve known that a lot of lives have been murdered during those years.

At the first half of the movie, the writer plays a song for his friend who has hanged himself. After that he says to his girlfriend, “Can someone who's listened to this music, really listened, still be a bad person?”
And we know that there’s a police officer who has really listened to this music.