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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk => Directors => Topic started by: MartinTeller on October 26, 2010, 12:39:40 PM

Title: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: MartinTeller on October 26, 2010, 12:39:40 PM
1. A Moment of Innocence
2. Salaam Cinema
3. The Silence
4. Gabbeh
5. The Gardener
6. The Cyclist
7. The Peddler
8. Marriage of the Blessed
9. Kandahar
10. The Afghan Alphabet
11. The School That Was Blown Away by the Wind



I want to see all of his work.  Moment of Innocence is brilliant and full of surprises.
Title: Re: Director's Best: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Post by: pixote on October 26, 2010, 12:47:59 PM
I've only seen Gabbeh and Kandahar. Not comfortable voting for either.

Very anxious to see The Cyclist, for semi-obvious reasons, as semi-obscure reasons go.

pixote
Title: Re: Director's Best: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Post by: sdedalus on October 26, 2010, 01:19:42 PM
Haven't seen any.
Title: Re: Director's Best: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 26, 2010, 03:15:20 PM
Haven't seen any.
Title: Re: Director's Best: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Post by: Verite on October 26, 2010, 07:12:36 PM
I've only seen Gabbeh and Kandahar. Not comfortable voting for either.

Very anxious to see The Cyclist, for semi-obvious reasons, as semi-obscure reasons go.

Since you're a fan of Close-up, you should definitely see A Moment of Innocence.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: 1SO on August 26, 2011, 11:05:59 AM
1. Salaam Cinema
2. A Moment of Innocence
3. The Cyclist
4. Gabbeh
5. The Peddler
6. The Silence
7. The President
8. Kandahar
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 22, 2014, 10:42:04 AM
Salaam Cinema (1995)

What is cinema? The ontological question can be approached from a plurality of perspectives, from the nature of its physical being to the loftier ideas of its place in the art world. Salaam Cinema is an answer to the question through an enactment of ideas. Instead of presenting a definitive idea of what cinema is, the film collects a swath of ideas that constitute cinema.

First and foremost, cinema is an obsession. As a car drives through the throngs of people gathered to audition for a role in Mohsen Makhmalbafís film, the passion and desire to be in the movies is almost irrational in its fervency and power. And as Makhmalbaf talks to many of these actors throughout the film, the people have a deep love of the cinema, and they might have an compulsion to be in his film.

Cinema is also a form of wish-fulfilment. The people in the film all desire to be in the movie, and by creating a movie about casting the film, Makhmalbaf uses this examination of cinema as also a way to realize the dreams and aspirations of those who come to try to be in the film. Cinema becomes a place where dreams can become a reality.

Likewise, cinema is a place of play. The entire film has people act out scenarios or fulfill commands as Makhmalbaf calls them. These loosely structured commands quickly enter the realm of child-like play, such as when Makhmalbaf pretends to shoot down all the actors in a mock action sequence.

The cinema is also subjugation. As Makhmalbaf commands these orders, he exhibits power in a way that might be abusive. He commands people to cry on will and then demeans them when they are unable to do so, which occasionally results in tears. His manipulation to get what he wants to see can often come across as cruel. In many ways, this evokes the scene in Abbas Kiarostamiís Homework where, during an interview, he brings a young child to tears .

Makhmalbaf eventually gives two young actresses his spot in the directorís chair, having them interrogate the next group of women. Placing them in power demonstrates that the ultimate worth and value of what is seen on screen is also judged by the audience. Eventually the director must relinquish control and cinema becomes the domain of the viewer.

Itís also worth speculating at how the film poses itself as a documentary about a casting call, but it becomes unclear whether or not everything is truly a document. Is Makhmalbaf able to induce some of these reactions on the fly or is he getting these people to act out a story heís already fabricated? Certain moments seem too coincidental to be uncontrolled moments of reality,

Salaam Cinema is the kid brother of Close-Up, the complex documentary by Kiarostami about a man posing as Makhmalbaf. Many of the ideas of cinematic obsession and cinema as wish-fulfilment are explored in a more tightly controlled and nuanced space in Close-Up. In contrast, Salaam Cinema is a loosely structured, more playful exploration of many of the same ideas and an equally provoking piece of cinema.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: 1SO on May 22, 2014, 01:25:29 PM
I like how in Iranian culture, the people are there out of a love for cinema and not a more selfish desire to be famous. They think they may have something to contribute, though they don't know what it is. It's more elusive than swimming pools and luxury cars.

Another difference hammered home by the film is the reality that most countries don't have a pool of talent. If they want to make a movie they have to put their trust and investment in people who have never appeared before a camera before and probably have never acted at all. This requires a completely different skill set than if Taste of Cherry starred Sam Rockwell or Gary Oldman. Casting is crucial.

I hope one day Salaam Cinema is held in as high a regard as Close-Up. Availability is probably the biggest hurdle. It's currently my #105 of All Time.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 22, 2014, 01:44:03 PM
Yes, it's a shame that the film is so hard to find. It really should be spoken of in the same breath as Close-Up. Hopefully, it gets a release down the line.
Title: Re: Director's Best: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Post by: Totoro on June 10, 2014, 12:08:40 PM
Haven't seen any.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: MartinTeller on February 01, 2015, 01:01:53 AM
My review of Salaam Cinema got cited in someone's academic paper (https://davinajodie.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/film-report-sick-salaam-cinema/).  Neat!
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: 1SO on February 01, 2015, 01:16:27 AM
That actually happens? That's awesome. Like getting a shout out on a radio program.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: oneaprilday on February 02, 2015, 11:09:22 AM
My review of Salaam Cinema got cited in someone's academic paper (https://davinajodie.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/film-report-sick-salaam-cinema/).  Neat!
Nice!!
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: oldkid on March 07, 2015, 08:45:40 PM
A Moment of Innocence 4/5
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen - Director's Best
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 14, 2015, 12:22:03 PM
Salaam Cinema
Kandahar
A Moment of Innocence
The Cyclist
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 29, 2016, 01:55:58 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/u51UVEY.jpg)

A Moment of Innocence (http://creativecriticism.net/?p=15191) (1996)

In some ways akin to Mohsen Makhmalbafís Salaam Cinema, A Moment of Innocence is as much about the process behind making a film as much as a film itself. This metatextual layer is not quite as strong as Salaam Cinema, but it does make for an interesting story about how these men reflect on their lives and try to represent themselves.

The film chronicles Makhmalbafís attempt to recreate a scene from his youth when he stabbed a policeman during a protest rally. He does this by enlisting the policeman (Mirhadi Tayebi) he stabbed to help him direct the film. While the policeman directs a younger version of himself (Ali Bakhsi), Makhmalbaf hires and directs a young version of himself (Ammar Tafti) as well.

Of the two, the policemanís story is the more interesting one. Hearing him talk about his days as a policeman and the time he spent pining after a woman who kept asking him questions every day shows this gentle, sweet side to the man that makes him an affectionate dreamer, a man pining after his youth and what it could have been.

Heís also so sincere about the way he directs that it ends up being quite funny. As he teaches the youthful version of himself how to stand, walk, and salute like a police officer, the results are often hilarious. The film isnít making fun of him as much as it just finds the situations humorous and exaggerates them for comedic effect.

Itís a disappointment that Makhmalbafís scenes with the younger version of himself are not as engaging. This is in part because Makhmalbaf comes off as a far more distant, cold figure. Heís often on the other side of the camera and only heard, making him less of a human force in the film. There is one scene where he opens up a bit and itís by far the best moment of his half of the film.

However, it is interesting how the younger versions of the two men are picked. For the policeman, Makhmalbaf insists on a young man who looks more like the policeman while the policeman insists that they pick a more photogenic young man. In contrast, Makhmalbaf picks the young man who plays himself when he declares that his goal is to save the world. The policeman must look the part while the director must have the heart.

This all builds to a compelling final act where things donít quite go as plan. What that reveals about the characters and the attempt to capture the event makes for a compelling capstone to the entire affair. Reality and cinema blend into something extraordinarily beautiful and sincere.

Even then, that doesnít quite make up for the weaker moments with Makhmalbaf. His cold distance doesnít give us enough vulnerability to make him work as well as the scenes with the police officer. Thereís still a strong film here, but it fails to live up to its full potential.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: 1SO on March 01, 2016, 12:04:38 AM
I like Moment of Innocence, but was always on the low end of praise from everyone else. You've nailed my problem, unlike with Salaam Cinema, Makhmalbaf is too remote from the rest of the film creating lulls when the focus is on him. We might be the only two people who see it that way.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: goodguy on September 11, 2018, 11:26:34 PM
The Silence
Gabbeh
The Gardener

Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on September 12, 2018, 07:11:34 AM
I have only seen Kandahar, and it is more than worthy of a vote.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: MartinTeller on September 12, 2018, 08:52:42 AM
The Silence
Gabbeh
The Gardener

You must have picked up that new Blu-Ray set! I had it on pre-order but I cancelled it. Glad to see I'm not missing much with The Gardener.
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on September 12, 2018, 09:00:07 AM
Go watching Salaam Cinema!
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on October 07, 2018, 02:18:43 PM
Kandahar, 35į
Title: Re: Makhmalbaf, Mohsen
Post by: 1SO on July 30, 2019, 01:12:32 AM
Updated Rankings (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=9157.msg619635#msg619635)

The Cyclist (1987 or 1989)
★ ★ ★ - Good
A television early in plays They Shoot Horses, Donít They?, and thatís the inspiration for this unsubtle and slightly surreal film about a man desperate for money who agrees to ride a bicycle in a small circle for a week without stopping. Filmmaking is rough in places, but Makhmalbaf manages to answer all logic questions while playing the circus that surrounds this Ace in the Hole for all the metaphor itís got. Script is full of surprises with many groups rooting against the poor man for personal and political reasons.


The Peddler (1989)
★ ★ Ĺ
Trilogy of shorts about people living a bleak, harsh existence. I give Makhmalbaf points for finding moments of dark humor and irony that keep the stories from being one-note. The middle tale is my favorite thanks to a surprise turn followed by a nice ending of spiritual grace. The final story didnít work for me at all except for the way it thematically rounds out the film.


The President (2014)
★ ★ Ĺ
There are clever ideas and surprises in the beginning, as we watch economical storytelling of this dictator and his son who end up on the run after a successful coup. The bulk of the film is the former powerful leader getting to know the least of his people, and Makhmalbaf goes too far out of his way to avoid any bog realizations or even small ones. We see the President get humbled and humiliated, but he always behaves as if this is just a temporary nightmare. The life lessons never get under his skin to create a satisfying dramatic transformation.