Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#1 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:58 pm

Holy shit, is this an impressive film. I haven’t seen anything this original in a long time and it’s going to be hard to get across just how unusual and accomplished it is, so you’re just going to have to imagine a smooth Iranian mixture of Russian Ark, Satantango, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Territory, The Blair Witch Project and Primer.

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before (spoilers!): there’s this bunch of kids camping by a lake, and unspeakable things are happening in the woods (don’t go into the woods!). And then there’s this kite-flying competition happening later that night, so let’s talk about kite design. What's up with that pair of one-armed twins carrying a couple of live ducks? Oh, and time keeps turning back on itself and you may feel a certain sense of déjà vu. And there’s a valve that we’ll need to turn off if we don’t want to flood the campsite. It’s just up there, a little bit further, honey, a little deeper into the woods. That kid who made the mixtape you really like? Dead. That’s why you might hear him whispering in the silences. I’m listening to you and taking part in this conversation we’re having, but this is what I’m really thinking. Hey, can you smell rancid meat? Oh, and time keeps turning back on itself and you may feel a certain sense of déjà vu. And where is everybody, anyway? Hey, isn’t that your ex-girlfriend who now lives in Lyon? What’s she doing here? No, I don’t see anybody leaning on your car, what are you talking about? Oh goody. My favourite band, and just in time.

It’s an insanely complex film, with a bumper crop of moments in which the reality of what you’re seeing dissolves, coalesces and reassembles into something eerie and strange. It runs for well over two hours and unfolds in a single handheld shot. It’s an astonishing technical achievement and must have been a bitch to rehearse, especially since, within that two plus hour performance there are bits of business and conversations that recur four or five times. The one-shot nature of the shoot is fully exploited for reinforcing the strangeness of the temporal recursions (as well as a couple of effective shock moments when a character turns up in a spot they can’t possibly be). And the film actually turns out to be much more elusive and metaphysical that you first suspect. For the first half hour, it feels like it could just turn out to be an extremely stylistically elaborate genre piece, then something memorably strange happens and from that point on the strangeness slowly gathers force and the genre elements start to fall like scales – though without ever losing a penetrating sense of (well-earned) dread.

Anyway, it’s a stunning achievement and I urge you all to track it down.

Arrow
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:02 pm

Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#2 Post by Arrow » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:09 am

Did you view it theatrically or is there a home video release?

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swo17
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#3 Post by swo17 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:04 am

It's currently on the festival circuit. Hopefully someone will pick it up at some point for wider release.

Arrow
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#4 Post by Arrow » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:31 pm

swo17 wrote:It's currently on the festival circuit. Hopefully someone will pick it up at some point for wider release.
I hope so, for some reason my partner and I decided to move to the middle of nowhere to raise our newborn and it's been impossible to see anything outside of the mainstream features.

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zedz
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#5 Post by zedz » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:07 pm

I have a gnawing dread that this is one of those films that I'll never see again. It's been out nearly a year now (debuted at Venice), and the only international distributor to pick up on it is Trigon (for Germany / Austria). So keep an eye on amazon.de, I guess, but don't expect English subs!

On the other hand, it looks like Llinas' Extraordinary Stories might finally be getting a release after all these years, so miracles can happen!

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FerdinandGriffon
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#6 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:33 pm

zedz wrote:On the other hand, it looks like Llinas' Extraordinary Stories might finally be getting a release after all these years, so miracles can happen!
How and where? I've been kicking myself about missing its brief run for three years now.

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swo17
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#7 Post by swo17 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:36 pm

I can't provide a link because their site appears to be down now, but it's coming soon from Intermedio (who, for instance, did last year's great Portabella set).

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John Edmond
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#8 Post by John Edmond » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:03 am

Just caught this. Mixed feelings -- it's an astonishing feat on many levels but I need it to sink in. Now imagining it as a looped installation.

Will note that Zedz can catch it again as it's touring Australia as part of the Iranian Film Festival.

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ianthemovie
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#9 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:23 am

Screening at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on January 17 and 21.

http://www.mfa.org/programs/series/bost ... lms-iran-0


jmj713
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:47 pm

Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#11 Post by jmj713 » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:10 pm

Extremely intrigued by this from the description, reviews, and videos. May need to make the trek to DC or Boston, but hopefully there will be a blu-ray release fairly soon!

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lacritfan
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#12 Post by lacritfan » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:57 pm


jmj713
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#13 Post by jmj713 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:58 am

So looks like this is available on DVD: https://www.trigon-film.org/en/movies/Fish_Cat" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Any word on a blu-ray release anywhere?

jmj713
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#14 Post by jmj713 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:49 pm

Fish & Cat was shortlisted by Iran for their Oscar submission but they did not go with it. Any chance it's actually released in the US on blu-ray by anyone?

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warren oates
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#15 Post by warren oates » Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:23 pm

Just order the region-free PAL DVD, dude. It's not a flawless presentation, but it is solid. And the film is too damn interesting to wait to see (I just missed it at UCLA in the spring). You'll want to see it more than once anyway. All of my most discerning film nerd friends around here were blown away by it in exactly the way zedz (who thoroughly nails this film's unique achievement and multifacted appeal) was. I think the only thing I have to add to his assessment, until I've seen it at least a few more times, is that, while you're taking it in from the first time, the film is just so subtle and shapeshifting, it keeps challenging your idea of what kind of thing it is you think you're watching. Even before it gets really weird, there are impressive shifts in tone and attention to include moments of drama and comedy that you wouldn't expect in a film like this, some seriously accomplished humanistic storytelling about relationships that wouldn't be out of place in any first-rate if far more ordinary dramedy from anywhere in the world.

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D50
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#16 Post by D50 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:40 am

I tried to order the dvd from the Trigon Film site (26 euro shipped) and it never goes through. Tried last month, and again right now. I emailed them the first time and did not get an answer.

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warren oates
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#17 Post by warren oates » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:06 pm

D50 wrote:I tried to order the dvd from the Trigon Film site (26 euro shipped) and it never goes through. Tried last month, and again right now. I emailed them the first time and did not get an answer.
Sorry to hear that D50. It wasn't my experience. I don't remember whether it ended up being easier to check out with PayPal or with just a credit card, but one of them seemed way less complicated as part of their whole site's process and I think it was just a using a credit card. My order shipped almost right away.

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zedz
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#18 Post by zedz » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:24 pm

D50 wrote:I tried to order the dvd from the Trigon Film site (26 euro shipped) and it never goes through. Tried last month, and again right now. I emailed them the first time and did not get an answer.
I just placed an order, and my first attempt evaporated when I tried to check out (during which process I registered and activated my account). Refilled my basket and the second time through it worked fine, but I noticed that on the successful attempt, once I was logged in, the items went into my basket with the Euro price attached. First time around they registered as Swiss francs (CHF). So make sure that you're registered and logged in before you start shopping to avoid a similar glitch.

Trigon have got plenty of other items of interest with English subs, specifically a bunch of films by Fernando Solanas and Souleymane Cisse.

jmj713
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:47 pm

Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#19 Post by jmj713 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:09 pm

Any chance Criterion or one of the smaller outlets take a chance on this?

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zedz
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#20 Post by zedz » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:38 pm

jmj713 wrote:Any chance Criterion or one of the smaller outlets take a chance on this?
You mean the Tootsie Criterion?

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aox
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#21 Post by aox » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:40 am

I really want to see this, but can't seem to find it in the US. And, there doesn't seem to be a place to stream it.

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swo17
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#22 Post by swo17 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:10 pm

Yikes, I just tried playing this DVD Oppo-upscaled on a 100" screen and it looked atrocious. A blocky digital mess not helped by the camera being in constant motion. I'll have to try to watch it again later on a smaller screen where the problems won't be as noticeable.

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aox
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#23 Post by aox » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:34 pm

What region is your DVD from, SWO?

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swo17
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#24 Post by swo17 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:58 pm

It's the R0 PAL one discussed above, the only game in town.

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zedz
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Re: Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013)

#25 Post by zedz » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:38 pm

I watched this disc the other night and it looked fine on a regular sized screen. Some unfortunate digital shimmer, but not enough to be too distracting. Nevertheless, it'd be a shame if the Trigon was the best we ever got. The making of is unsubbed, which is a shame, since I bet it's a great story.

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