Daily Archives: April 20, 2006

Samad Film Festival

Underground, experimental, and in some cases banned videos from Iran. Reviewing Mohammad Shirvani’s Navel (2004, 83 min.), Joshua Katzman wrote, Five Iranians share a cramped Tehran apartment in this low-budget video drama, shot mostly after dark with night vision that renders the characters as ghostly apparitions with glowing eyes. . . . Shirvani keeps the narrative to a bare minimum, allowing the characters to reveal themselves as their daily routines are recorded, usually by the middle-aged Mani. Oldest of the five and owner of the apartment, he displays an aggressive if affable sense of entitlement as he tracks his cohorts: an expatriate woman visiting from New York, an Iranian Turk who was once an Islamic cleric, a divorced father mostly seen visiting with his young son, and a country boy completing his military duty. No less transgressive are Ehsan Fouladi’s Gasoline (2004, 24 min.) and Mahdi Zarringhalami’s Shiny Muddy Beast (2006, 10 min.): in the former a woman kills and disfigures her boyfriend while the camera periodically turns upside down; the latter features a kind of spastic choreography between the camera-wielding lead actress and the camera filming her. All three are in Farsi with subtitles. (JR) Read more