poet of the wastes
saw this movie today with a friend. it's at the landmark cinema, in front of the borders, near the corner of broadway and clark, so it's truly a movie experience. the film is part of the 41st chicago international film festival, and the theater is capitalizing on it. there is a festival booth, and the house is decorated with the flags of the world. the film is 81 minutes long and tickets are $12. and it is totally worth every minute and every cent.

saman aghvami / iranian student news agency

i admit very little knowledge of tehran and iran, so i am very taken by the movie. i looooove the way director mohammad ahmadi frames every shot of this film. i'm obssessed with perfect still photography shots, especially of unfamiliar places. mohsen makhmalbaf's screenplay is gorgeous.

i didn't know it snowed that far north of the middle east. we are all used to photos of royal palaces and massive buildings of europe, or the canals of amsterdam or the ruins of egypt or greece, or the sparse streets of london and its hilly countrysides; we're all familiar with caribbean coastlines and tropical jungles, but i, for one, rarely see any part of the middle east that's normal - no tanks, blown up houses, no soldiers, no crowded streets, disorganized traffic; flying sand and dust, the dull yellow and gray of desert. these are the typical images of the middle east broadcast by mainstream media everyday.

ahmadi and makhmalbaf filmed a couple regular tehran streets where houses have high gates and front doors, streets have sidewalks and space for flowing traffic and organized agreements - such as mailboxes, intercoms, gutters with flowing water and clean-looking debries (i.e., no human waste), parks with sculptures, streets thickly littered with nothing but autumn leaves, small lines are formed before embassies, and garbage is tied in plastic bags and collected every night by 9 p.m.

the chicago film festival blurb announces that this is an iranian film "whose intent is to steer absolutely clear of political commentary." well, no. maybe. there is a poet who, wooed by a mere observer, glibs that he chose to stay in iran because he's a cow, bleeding milk. his balcony is so extensive that his visitors need to step back to show themselves to him when they call to visit. he receives food only from his second floor apartment. once a week, he sends down money in a rattan basket to an aged grocer who brings him reading material and food. and it seems like his only visitor is the observer.

one night the observer notices a wooden ladder leading to the window he normally throws his garbage from, and, when mr. poet does not answer, the observer climbs the ladder and enters the poet's world. it is disheveled. someone has thrown the poet's books into a pile in the middle of a bedroom. at the very edge of the pile is a black journal the poet said contained his latest collection. the observer picks it up and calls around the house for the poet. he reaches the bathroom, and finds the writer there.

before ending, the observer writes to a girl he met on that same street and asks her to see him. that day, it was snowing. the girl has collected white powder on her shoulders, in her veil, on her lap, around her arms. almost three inches has collected on the park bench. the observer comes along with his black book. she asks him if he has been writing her all those letters all along. he says here is the poet's last book, read it and keep it. she stands up and, hearing all she expected to hear, walks away.

from the web site of dr. mostafa moini, professor of economics, oklahoma city university

snow falls around the observer, and the camera pans to reveal a sculpture of his profession. they say poetry is merely honesty. that it is wasted on the inattentive. that one man's trash is another's treasure. that trash, truly is trash, when your dreams come flying by. that it is glib talk, easy to be snowed by. that unlike sunlight, snow does not touch everything - snow falls like a blanket. it evokes comfort, like poetry, but the only true comfort you'll find in lines is far from it, away from it. poetry freezes a moment in time, and rare are the few who choose to chisel and cast moments permanently into stone.

the camera pans further from the observer and fades to black. my friend and i sit for a while and then realize we can't read credits in farsi script. we get up to eat coconut chicken and hummus and bread in the theater basement. the cheap champagne rang through our senses long after the movie's conclusion.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

welcome, and thank you for boarding the ulanmaya transit express. tickets, please. mind the gap as you depart. have a pleasant experience.

05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 /

gromit is curious

Powered by Blogger