6 July 2018.
3 FACES **** (vo Farsi)
The unending wisdom and gentleness of Jafar Panahi are once again here to delight us. The veteran Iranian director, who is supposedly still under house arrest and prohibited from making films, is back with another tale from a corner of his country. One can only wonder how he does it.
‘3 Faces’ won the Best Scenario award at Cannes, though Panahi could not be there to pick up his prize. It comes after his first clandestine one, “This is Not a Film” and the charming “Tehran Taxi”. Not to mention his earlier masterworks concerning females such as “The White Balloon”, “The Mirror”, “Offsides” or the controversial “The Circle” which got him into political trouble.
The film starts with a mysterious video made by a desperate girl who is pleading for a chance to leave her northern village and come to the capital Tehran to attend an acting and arts academy. The video, which ends with the young girl’s apparent suicide by hanging, has been texted to a famous TV actress who sets out anxiously with her friend Panahi, playing himself, toward the village to find out if the girl is dead or if it’s a terrible hoax. The two urban travelers descend upon this rural scene exhausted, guilt-ridden and desperate for an answer.
Within this mysterious, almost thriller context, Panahi has managed to insert a multitude of clues about life in Iran, especially the solidarity between women. There are the villagers, all welcoming to a fault. There is the crazy brother of the girl who is ‘standing up’ for her honor, the concerned mother, and an unseen older actress who is shunned by the villagers. There is the local tea room where gossip is exchanged, and where we hear an endearing tale of the powers of the circumcised foreskin. There is the ritual of safely navigating the narrow road to the village, and the story of the fallen bull that has golden balls and can service hundreds of cows – don’t ask, just go see the film…
This is a film to savor for the sophistication of its simplicity: its understated humor, its naturalistic acting, its honesty about human nature and its yearning for more freedom of choice.
Native Iranians will especially enjoy the contrast between the Turkic and Farsi languages used in the film.
BUDAPEST ** (vo French)
If you liked the HANGOVER films, you’ll enjoy this crazy French comedy about 2 guys who create a business flying French grooms-to-be to Budapest for wild bachelor parties.
You can imagine the rest – a lot of booze and drugs, testosterone and easy girls…
ADRIFT (A la dérive) **
Another survival flick based on a true story that keeps you on a smashed sailboat on the open seas for the whole film, with a few flashbacks to lighten the ordeal. You’ll feel adrift for the duration.
THE INCREDIBLES 2 (Les indestructibles 2) *1/2
This second Disney/Pixar animation about the super family has too many jarring sounds, is too hectic, too violent for the kids and Mom is now the action hero, while Dad stays home to take care of the kids…Our Western world seems indeed run by feminists these days….and the kids are being groomed for that…
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.