Aeg maha (Priit Pärn, 1985)
Môjû (Yasuzo Masumura, 1969)
I was worried initially that the first bit would just go on for 7 minutes - I mean it's an ok bit where the character is trying to do everything at once, but it gets repetitive pretty fast. Thankfully, we then get into a very fun and wacky dream which really plays around with what animation can offer, playing with the medium to get these jokes and fun use of dream logic. I quite liked the music too. All in all, a fun, playful short.
Bé omid é didar (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2011)
A very interesting film that starts out as a thriller which felt somewhat reminiscent of Psycho, at least in that the kidnapper has a bit of a Norman Bates vibe to him, except in this instance, instead of Janet Leigh dying, she gets raped and... falls in love with the guy? Yeesh, I thought, there goes any good will I have towards this film and its crazy set design and somewhat interesting musings on what being deprived of a sense can do to your psyche in the worst of cases. And then... it turns out into a In the Realm of the Senses scenario, which I found pretty fascinating. It's really a film of two halves (though I guess the latter part is really just a third of it), but both halves work really well, it's the transition between the two that's the problem, because I don't really buy that this character getting raped magically makes her into who she becomes in the latter part, no matter how traumatic that event might have been. It does get away from the idea that this rape is "succesful" in the sense that what ensues feels more like a traumatic response to the murder. I noted that she had an opportunity to kill her kidnapper at one point and didn't, so I can see her character completely snapping because of the murder as well as the rape. They're both reacting to this event by throwing themselves into this deadly hedonistic spiral, rather than it being the kidnapper reaching his goal, I think.
In any case, it's a film that raises a lot of questions, and in the end I'm leaning on it being interesting and evocative rather than, you know, morally irresponsible. The set is also remarkable, and really enhances the last act, which benefits from the surreal surroundings a lot.
My second Rasoulof film, and the second one I just don't connect with at all, after Lerd / A Man of Integrity. I'm still looking forward to There Is No Evil, but I think I'm starting to understand what's missing here. I obviously have a lot of sympathy for Rasoulof, who is trying to express himself in a country that wants to hear none of it, and I get that this limits him in many ways, but I can't help but compare his work to Jafar Panahi's, and I find that Rasoulof lacks Panahi's sense of humour, which leads him to make these ponderous and dreary misery porn dramas that just don't bring much other than "woe is me". Which, fair enough, woe is you indeed (does that even make sense grammatically?) and I sympathize with your plight, but it doesn't make for very engaging filmmaking, as it turns out. The cinematography is drab, the storytelling repetitive and the acting monotonous. The only scenes that elevated my interest a bit where when government agents actually intervened in it, specifically the scene in which her home is searched stands out as an actual moment of cinema, but everything around it is just a big bowl of nothing which holds some interest for the context in which it all takes place, but does very little with it.
1. Môjû - 7/10
2. Aeg maha - 7/10
3. Bé omid é didar - 3/10