Sunday, August 29, 2010

Montreal World Film Festival - Day 2

 My first screening was Tehran Tehran. This in fact was two movies about life in Iran’s capital city. The first was Days of Acquaintance (d. Dariush Mehrjui), about a family whose roof collapses during a rainstorm on the eve of the new year. They’re taken in by a wealthy family and go on a tour of Tehran’s major sites. This is a heart-warming story told in a straight forward manner with nothing particularly exceptional about it. But Toronto’s CN Tower comes in for mention when the family takes the elevator up the city’s similarly-shaped Milad Tower! The second film was The Last String (d. Mehdi Karampour) A rock band is about to give a concert when their permit is cancelled. This film is definitely the edgier, and has things to say about the state of cultural freedom and stifling opportunities for young people in Iran today.....The next screening was Freedom on Parole by Denmark’s Eric Clausen. John, played by the director, is released on parole and travels to remote Jutland to help his son. His adjustment is anything but smooth. The Danish Muhammad cartoon controversy also makes an appearance.....Finally, Short Films in Competition, Program Two. Two Iranian films Only Sound Remains and Underwater Banquet are laden with themes about Iranian repression and the 1980s’ Iran-Iraq war. Colette from the UK is about a young woman’s ambivalence about love. September and The Highway, from Georgia, are two films about the brutal Russian invasion of that country in 2008. From Spain, Salesman of the Year, is a send-up of corporate politics in the Great Recession. Monster Butler (U.S.) stars Malcolm McDowell depicting real life serial killer Roy Fontaine. Sexting (U.S., d. Neil LaBute) has Julia Stiles explaining an affair in a rather compromising situation. And Licked (New Zealand) is about the revenge of a couple of astute nine-year olds. The best were Sexting (love Julia Stiles!), followed by Monster Butler (love Malcolm McDowell!) and Salesman of the Year.

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