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 Post subject: Mohammad Rasoulof
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
Mohammad Rasoulof (1972 - )

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If I have to close my eyes on something, I prefer not to do it on my social environment.
I prefer to make my movie, and then close my eyes on the fear of the possible repercussions.



Filmography

Friday (1991)

The Pin (1993)

Seven Dreams (1994)

Ten Seconds More (1995)

The Glass House (1997)

Evening Party (1999)

The Twilight (2002) R1 Facets

Iron Island (2005) R1 Kino

Head Wind (2008)

The White Meadows (2009) R1 Global Film Initiative

Goodbye (2011)

Manuscripts Don't Burn (2013) R1 Kino / R2 StudioCanal


Web Resources

Cinema Scope

Aljazeera America


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:11 pm
swo17 wrote:
Global Film Initiative apparently put out Mohammad Rasoulof's The White Meadows, which I've been dying to see for a couple years now, on DVD earlier this year.

Just to warn you, the subtitles on this disc are burned in and the print is a little rough looking (to put it mildly). If you have the option, I'd recommend watching this on Hulu instead of/before buying the disc.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 5:34 am
Location: Portland, OR
Either way, everyone should get their eyes in front of it posthaste, because it's one of the greatest films made in the last several years. If Hulu's not an option, the Global Film Initiative's DVDs seem to have a pretty good public library presence.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:39 pm
Location: Idaho
It's also up on Fandor as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
I finally got around to seeing The White Meadows and it didn't disappoint. The initial thrust of the plot (a man travels from shore to shore, collecting the inhabitants' sadness) had potential to quickly devolve into cheesiness, but thankfully went in all sorts of dark and surprising directions. And its ruminations on the suppression of artistic thought are of course all the more impactful considering the current climate of the filmmaking industry in Iran. (Note that Jafar Panahi served as editor on this film. And also that, assuming IMDb is correct, the film has never been screened in Iran.) But the main attraction here is the haunting, inventive visuals, some artfully assembled by the en masse placement of props in natural landscapes, and others simply achieved through strategic camera placement--at times the sea seems to blend right into the sky, with both ready to fold right over onto the people on land.

As indicated, the transfer on the DVD does look rather rough, but it looks like a rough film print as opposed to a shoddy DVD. Also, the DVD-ROM comes with a lengthy viewer's guide (in pdf format) designed to prompt further reflection on the film, complete with film club-style discussion questions to consider. Which is kind of neat. All in all, I highly recommend the film, however you're able to see it.


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 Post subject: Re: Mohammad Rasoulof
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT
So Goodbye recently became available for viewing through backchannels, and it's a real departure from the metaphorical approach taken in Rasoulof's earlier work, offering a more realistic and biting portrait of modern Iran. Here we have a female lawyer whose husband and career have been taken from her by the system. Her life is constantly invaded by the government's laws (and sometimes employees). She doesn't want a child ("to bring one into this environment would be a sin") but gets pregnant anyway to improve her chances of being able to leave the country. She later comes to regret this decision and considers terminating the pregnancy. The story starts to turn into something like 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, only focusing more on the woman's emotional connection (or lack thereof) to her unborn child than on the actual process of trying to obtain an abortion. And then, in an understated but nonetheless devastating finale...
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The woman seems to have developed a lasting connection with her future child and found in it a chance to be reborn herself--she will keep the baby. This is a momentous decision that should have immeasurable impact on at least a handful of people's lives. Life is difficult enough just dealing with decisions like this one. But then we see that it's all for naught, as her space is once again invaded and she is taken away to experience unseen but imagined horrors. Her fate is very simply conveyed visually through the callousness with which a picture of a child--once a symbol of wonder, and of the possibilities of life--is cast aside while rooting through a suitcase. But the point is clear: This woman has just won a tortured battle with herself and in the process caught a glimmer of her strength and humanity, long hidden by an oppressive regime. And then been crushed like an ant.


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 Post subject: Re: Mohammad Rasoulof
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Perhaps because the last film I had seen prior to Rasoulof's A Man of Integrity was Andrey Zvyagintsev's Loveless, I couldn't help comparing it to the latter director's Leviathan, as both similarly grapple with stoic, intractable protagonists slowly being steamrolled by the corrupt, ineffective, and/or inhumane institutions and people around them. The two films lead their main characters to different fates in the face of these forces, but have similarly bleak perspectives on those trying to maintain the titular trait in societies that reward cruelty and criminality and punish independence and nonconformity.

Integrity is the first film of Rasoulof's I've seen, so I can't compare to his other work, but this film's weakness seemed to be the inconsistent and somewhat haphazard characterization of its two leads - the goldfish farmer played by Reza Akhlaghirad and his wife (Soudabeh Beizaee). While the central theme of having to choose between submitting to oppression or becoming an oppressor is clearly articulated through both character's actions, the couple's specific reasoning and behavior in making those choices means that the consequences don't always land with the power that they could have, either due to seeming inconsistencies in their characters' motivations or just a lack of clarity around the implications of those choices. The latter may be due to an ignorance on my part of certain cultural/language cues that would potentially improve upon second viewing, but while definitely a worthwhile film, it's hard not to feel as though this falls a bit short of its potential and ambitions.

That said, Rasoulof's willingness and ability to create the film at all by sneaking into rural northern Iran and filming in secret while under indictment by the government is powerful in its own right, and understanding this context certainly adds weight to the film and its messages.


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