sabato 20 dicembre 2014

Brick and Mirror - Ebrahim Golestan

inizia come un noir anni ’60, un taxi percorre le strade della città di notte, con le luci delle insegne pubblicitarie che lampeggiano, e la radio che racconta qualche storia.
ma non è New York o Parigi, è Teheran nel 1965.
il film racconta una piccola storia, di un tassista, un’amante e una bambina abbandonata.
ricorda il neorealismo, per tutto il film, ma un neorealismo più nero di quello italiano, senza spazio per la commedia.
e con il passare dei minuti il film ti conquista e non ti molla più.
appare anche Forugh Farrokhzad, (la passeggera del taxi), per sapere qualcosa di lei guarda qui.
non perdetevi questo piccolo capolavoro (qui il film completo, con sottotitoli in inglese) - Ismaele




Brick and Mirror is a masterpiece, perfectly focused in its withering portrayal of hypocritical intellectuals preaching altruism. 
Its tragic narrative, taking place over 24 hours and moving from a rapid first half to a slow second, shows us a Teheran radically different from anything we've seen in the second Iranian New Wave -- especially in an early nightclub scene featuring a woman dancing onstage, at least one gay audience member, and a lot of bohemian atmosphere.
What's deceptive about the film is that it combines a neorealistic look (in black and white and 'Scope) with visual and dramatic modes that suggest expressionism and metaphysics. 
Peripheral characters periodically take over the story, and some of their monologues suggest Dostoyevsky in recounting the world's misery. (The title derives from a somewhat cryptic line by the 13th-century Persian poet Sa'adi that says what the old can see in a mud brick, youth can see in a mirror.)
The film opens at night with a cabdriver named Hashemi (Zackaria Hashemi) listening to a man on the radio read a story set in a nocturnal forest. (The voice is 
Golestan, recognizable from his prosaic portion of the narration in The House Is Black.) 
Hashemi picks up a woman (
Forugh Farrokhzad, seen only obliquely in a cameo) who directs him to a dirt road on a hillside. After dropping her off, he discovers she's left a baby girl in the backseat. 
Clutching the baby, he runs after the woman and suddenly finds himself at the head of a steep stairway descending into darkness. Three rapid jump cuts moving down the steps and away from him emphasize his paralysis and isolation. 
He eventually winds up at a huge construction site, no less theatrically lit, speaking to a homeless woman in a scene that in its ambience briefly recalls
Orson Welles's The Trial

Brick and Mirror is unlike anything I have seen from Iran, for it is my introduction to Iranian cinema before the revolution. With the world's eyes keenly focused on Iran, – politically or otherwise – there prevails a risk of drawing a monolithic portrait of the country. Watching Brick and Mirror, one can see how starkly different the two ages are and how drastic a cultural shift its citizens were subject to after 1979. Golestan's film, more or less, also testifies the strong relation between France and Iran that prevailed during the Shah's regime. He, evidently and interestingly, draws inspiration from both Godard and Bresson, apart from incorporating tenets from other famous schools of film-making. With complete control over every aspect of the film (writing, directing, editing and producing it by himself), Golestan churns out a film that is clearly Iranian in content, yet could pass of as one of the French New Wave movies.
Almost the whole film, both formally and script-wise, never conforms to the popular law of cause and effect. Golestan refuses to explain everything and seems to want us to not understand the city, much like Hashemi himself. Who is that crazy female at the hell-hole that Hashemi meets earlier? No answer. What is the guy, whom one might have called a charlatan earlier in the film, doing on the national channel talking about the ethics of living? No answer. Could that female, whom Hashemi sees the second night be the same lady who left the baby in his car the previous day? May be. But surely, all these aren't merely confusing or distancing devices. Each of these scenes reveals something about the city and the era, in one way or the other. Each of them has indirectly managed to document history – cultural and cinematic. Consequently, now more than ever, it feels that these seemingly stray events are the very elements that can help us perceive better a country that has been unjustly homogenized using, what Brick and Mirror shows us, a faux identity.

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