Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cezanne? No! Seh Zan

When we hopped on the train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam to attend the opening evening of the Iranian Film Festival, I had no idea what to expect other than music from the incredibly talented Pejamn Akbarzadeh. When we arrived at the cinema, I heard that we would be seeing "Cezanne"
Cezanne painting: Still Life with a Curtain (1895). The Hermitage Museum.
Hmm... I thought, Cezanne, what does he have to do with Iran? The answer was that we were seeing "Seh Zan," Three Women, by the director of Women's Prison Manijeh Hekmat.

Pegah from the film Three Women

The film followed a woman, her daughter, and mother. The central figure tries so hard to control every aspect of her life from the potential loss of an historically significant carpet to the lives of her daughter and mother. As a result, she (physicall) loses all three: the carpet, her senile mother, and her young daughter. Her efforts to find them do, however, give her insight into the inner world of her daughter and mother.

I loved the film, despite the fact that our friend Shervin Nekuee thought that the ending was weak. "Most Iranian films have the same problem," he said, "They don't have strong endings." (I would say that a notable exception is Cafe Transit, which had a really strong ending.)

Okay: weak strong, the film had me and Kamran talking about it the next day. Kamran told me about the Radio Zamaneh interview with the director and then interviews with filmhouse owners who talked about why they are not booking her film (nobody wants to see it, they say). (We are going to discuss this in another post.)

On the way back to Amsterdam, we were joined by the (unknown to us) Dutch director Pim van Hoeve, who seemed interested in constructing a romantic comedy around our friend Pejman. He obviously has a great sense of character: Pejman would make the perfect protagonist: he's talented, charming, and mysterious. Proof of his talent:

More things to look at:

Three Women in Chicago

Manijeh Hekmat sells cigarettes
to earn a living

Hassan Rezai writes about the conditions in Women's prisons in Iran.

Myspace page with music from the Iranian band 127 who make an appearance in the film Three Women.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I listened to the interview with Manijeh Hekmat. Just the filmhouse owners in SOUTHERN part of Tehran are not going to book it.
Cute post anyway !