The Silence of Jona

(Originally published on the Film International website.) What is the last resort in the face of ubiquitous evil? Reza Mirkarimi’s Today has a simple, yet astonishing answer: silence. Today, Iran’s representative in this year’s Academy Awards competition for Best Foreign Language Film, has been underestimated thus far. Nevertheless, it contains all main traits that have universalized … Continue reading The Silence of Jona

The Slippers of Ozymandias: An Allegorical Reading of Bist

Mr. Soleimani pairs his slippers with pedantic care. The stationery items on his desk are arranged with ardent adherence to the laws of geometry and his employees are efficiently worked to the last drop of energy. He is a meticulous perfectionist, a reception hall owner, a despot and a clinically morose individual. This is the … Continue reading The Slippers of Ozymandias: An Allegorical Reading of Bist

Robocop (2014) and Operation Freedom Tehran

There is a wee contradiction—most probably an error in theory—in the 2014 reanimation of Robocop that reverses the whole hero-villain dynamic of the film. At the onset, we are shown an American army of robots “securing” the streets in “Operation Freedom Tehran”. Then a group of Iranian suicide bombers attack the robots and make sure the … Continue reading Robocop (2014) and Operation Freedom Tehran

‘I was, I am not’: Asghar Farhadi’s Le Passé

In the realm of conventional cinema, a film functions like Horace’s sugar-coated pill: it instructs as it entertains. A conventional film shows life with certain elements imposed on it, so that we can deduce an ultimate ‘essence’, a ‘meaning’. Le Passé only confuses: it casts us into the extremely complicated lives of a group of people surrounding Marie (Bérénice Béjo), an employee of a Parisian pharmacy, and then abandons us there. It has no essence, no meaning, just like life, pure and simple.