11 November 2016.
THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY ****
Traditional, poverty-stricken India in the early 20th century. A self-taught, mathematical genius who manages to be noticed and is finally invited by a renowned British scholar to Cambridge. The glorious history and halls of the hallowed university. Grey, cold England during WWI. A deep, mutual friendship and respect between two unlikely personalities. And even a gentle love story in an arranged marriage.
It’s all here in this biopic by Matt Brown who worked for more than 10 years on this project, finally seeing it come to fruition with two superb actors, Dev Patel (of “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Marigold Hotel” films) and Jeremy Irons, plus a crew of fine character actors.
This true tale of the Indian mathematician Srinivasan Ramanujan, who managed to make waves at Trinity College in Cambridge during the 1920s, is not only about his importance to the world of mathematics but also about his struggle to overcome racial prejudice. Beautifully filmed and very moving, this is a wise film that remains in the heart.
LE CLIENT (FOROUSHANDEH/ THE SALESMAN) ***1/2 (vo Farsi)
Asghar Farhadi is one of the most brilliant film directors of Iran, a country with a renowned cinema culture. In 2012, his finest work, “A Separation” won almost every award possible around the world: Best Foreign Film Oscar, a Golden Globe, the foreign BAFTA, the foreign César, Golden Bear in Berlin, etc, etc.
His gripping, realistic style, mixed with his grasp of all levels of Iranian culture and society, make his films into a microcosm of human experience.
This one walked off with Best Scenario for Farhadi and Best Actor award for Shahab Hosseini at the last Cannes film festival. The story is an intelligent, intriguing study of a misfortune that hits a happy couple who have just moved into a new flat and who are both actors in a Tehran production of Arthur Miller’s play, “Death of a Salesman ».
Farhadi weaves here a spellbinding tale of broken complicity, suspicion and revenge bound in the social mores of present-day Iran. But more importantly it relays a universal feeling of layered emotions, as in most of his works, so be aware of the truths between the lines.
What is happening to Ron Howard, one of Hollywood’s most impressive directors? He, of such excellent, award-winning films as “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” or “Rush”. Guess you can’t win ’em all – especially not this third instalment with characters from Dan Brown’s “DaVinci Code” bestseller.
Tom Hanks tries hard to entertain us as the momentarily-amnesiac professor and specialist of ancient relics, though he doesn’t seem convinced, and neither are we. All the hectic chases, supposed intrigues and multiple good and bad guys finally become a forgettable muddle in this boring wannabe blockbuster. Save your money.
But we still believe in you, Ron.
THE HISTORY OF LOVE (L’Histoire de l’amour) *
With a title like that and after a row of memorable films such as “The Concert”, “The Source”, “Live and Become” from its Romanian director, Radu Mihaileanu, you would expect a superlative film. Unfortunately this one is an embarrassingly maudlin, over-acted, clichéd romantic tale – simply not up to par.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.