Tuesday, April 25, 2006

[SIFF'06] Portrait of a Lady Faraway

This movie marks my first Iranian film viewing, thanks for this year's SIFF focus on arabian cinema. You might be curious as to why I chose this film amongst the selection on offer. Remember Fly By Night 2005? Before we came up with The Undecided, we actually considered a short film which resembled the synopsis of this movie. My interest was piqued, and so I bought a ticket.

What did I think of it? Honestly, I thought our short film, if we had done it, would have turned out to be more interesting. No, I'm not being shameless, This movie started off very strongly, given the setting of the premise, but then it degenerated into what I always deem as a cop out - the open ended, was-it-a-dream cliche.

A lonely elderly man, Ahmed, finds that a woman had left her intentions for suicide on his answering machine, together with instructions and an address, and approximate time during which she will end her life. He decides on a whim, and out of curiousity, to seek out this woman. His intentions would be to save her, then again, it was never told. At the address, he doesn't find the woman, but instead found a friend of the woman, and they embark on a journey together to look for the suicide victim.

You can get a good glimpse of Iran in their travels, before the movie starts to slow and get bogged down by wondering how to weave all the subplots and end them in a coherent fashion. I'm never a fan of movies which try to take arthouse twists and suggest dreams or leaving it too open ended without a hint of a reason.

However, the complex visuals make this interesting to watch, and the edgy soundtrack was good enough to hold my attention, despite it being extremely loud so as to vibrate the entire cinema hall.

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