Welcome to week 3 of my film guide!
I am trying to mix it up every week, and so regular readers will notice a new feature in this edition;
The Reader's Recommendation!
All suggestions for films or features greatly received!
Stay Safe & Happy Watching!
Free to View Film of the Week
Nominated: Academy Award Best International Film, 2015
Abderrahmane Sissako’s film takes as its starting point a news story from the west African state of Mali, where the director was born. In 2012, a couple was reportedly stoned to death for having children outside wedlock. Sissako diversifies aspects of the event into separate fictional scenes, and finds something more than simple outrage and horror, however understandable and necessary those reactions are. He gives us a complex depiction of the kind you don’t get on the nightly TV news, even trying to get inside the heads and hearts of the aggressors themselves. And all this has moral authority for being expressed with such grace and care. His film is a cry from the heart about bigotry, arrogance and violence, and it seems that he also has something to say to us right now about the aggressive philistinism practised by Islamic State.
**** The Guardian
Streaming Film of the Week
Nominated: Academy Award, Best International Film, 2017
Made prior to the the excellent Permission shown at the 2020 Chester International Film Festival ‘The Salesman’ also examines aspects of Iran’s contemporary society. It also involves a ‘travel ban’. Asghar Farhadi’s sombre film is the story of a shocking and mysterious event which shatters the wellbeing of a middle-class couple. It is about male pride, male violence, male privilege – but since its first appearance at Cannes last year, the film has outgrown its own immediate significance. It became a totem for cultural resistance to Donald Trump when the proposed travel ban threatened to exclude this Iranian director from the Academy Awards, where The Salesman was nominated for best foreign language film.
As to the plot; schoolteacher Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and his wife, Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), have had to move into a new apartment because their old building is structurally unsafe – a metaphor for their lives, perhaps. The new flat was once rented by a woman working as a prostitute, and one day when she is alone there, Rana casually buzzes in a caller she assumes is her husband. But it is one of the prostitute’s former clients…
*** The Guardian
Reader’s Recommendation of the Week
Those readers who made their way through last week’s recommended documentary ‘OJ: Made in America’ will find LA92 the perfect compliment. Recommended by one of my readers, LA92 it comprises nothing but archival news, police and home-video footage of the LA Riots that followed the verdict in the 1992 Rodney King case. It is a fitting way of telling the story: from King’s beating, captured on camcorder by a member of the public, to the scenes of looting, violence and disorder that followed, this was an occasion defined by video footage. Shorn of narration and talking-head commentary, the images speak grimly and potently for themselves: the helicopter shots of the horrifying attack on Reginald Denny, a trucker who found himself in entirely the wrong place at entirely the wrong time; the thick pall of smoke hanging over looted and burnt out buildings; the many protester placards bearing the still relevant slogan “No justice, no peace”. This film explains, if not excuses the outcome of the OJ Simpson trial. It is a beautifully constructed documentary without almost anything beautiful in it.