A couple more reviews from this year's Festival du nouveau cinéma in Montreal, which ended Sunday:
A Man of Integrity (Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran): This film’s story is meant to be a microcosm for the corruption in modern day Iranian society. It’s an underground film because Rasoulof is facing jail time and the movie was shot, undercover, in the country’s remote north. It also won this year’s Cannes Un Certain Regard prize. The film concentrates on Reza (Reza Akhlaghirad) who stands up against an unspecified local corporate entity that seems to run the local community, and which wants his land. His fish farm is destroyed, he is falsely jailed and forced to pay compensation to the town boss. His family’s downward spiral is sickening. This is a character-driven plot and Akhlaghirad is a good actor. But the film falters from its overwhelmingly melancholy, its slow pace, and an unrelenting bleak visual backdrop.
Bernard and Huey (Dan Mirvish, USA): This film, from an unproduced screenplay by the cartoonist, screenwriter and playwright Jules Feiffer, is a little surprising for those of us who think Feiffer epitomizes the liberal sentiments of the New York’s Greenwich Village. After all, he drew the iconic cartoon strip the Village Voice newspaper for over 40 years. But these characters, Bernard and Huey, also inhabited that strip, at least in the 1950s. Bernard (Jim Rash) is the nerdish intellectual, Huey (David Koechner) the alpha male. Huey is an expert on women and sets Bernard up with women he’s dated. Twenty-five years later Huey shows up at Bernard’s apartment unexpectedly. The table is turned. Bernard scores with various women, Huey is fat and bald but as gregarious as ever. This is a male bonding lark. After all, what do men often spend their time talking about? Women and getting laid. The film is all New York, very contemporary, with interesting characters. But if you’re a woman offended by this sort of talk, stay away. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.