"Three Faces" by Jafar Panahi – Movie Review: Thanks for the Foreskin!

adminDecember 26, 2018





The old man does not hesitate long. When the slow city dwellers do not respond, he enters the car and presses hard on the horn. Then he listens and finally says: "So now you can continue". The two car residents still do not understand the complicated Hup ritual, but at least they can continue on the journey through the Iranian mountains.

Again he travels by car: Jafar Panahi, one of the most famous directors in Iran. This time not in the urban jungle as in its latest movie "Taxi Tehran", but in the northwest of the country, where people speak Turkish and live traditionally. Once again he throws a lovingly entertained and at the same time distant critical view of his complicated homeland, where a restrictive regime can massively suppress the freedom of art and yet be able to create great art on a small scale.

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"Three Faces":
Great art in a small frame

This time, he tells who has not been allowed to shoot for eight years because of a professional ban, but it still does so from the contrasts in Iran along the gap between city and country, exemplified by women's position in the various social contexts. The vignette of "Taxi Tehran" gives way to a wide narrative arch that is as poetic as symbolically charged. In Cannes he was awarded the Best Screenplay Award.

In salt introduced the foreskin

Panahi plays again and is being exploited for a rescue mission: Famous actress Behnaz Jafari has received a video where a girl seems to commit suicide because she is married to her will and does not follow her call as an actress. Jafari, who is actually very popular in Iran and also plays here, exploits Panahi as a driver and joins Marziyeh's village with him to find out what really happened.

That's where the inhospitable mountain trail leads, so narrow that drivers must communicate with some sort of Hup Morse code before every turn, who is allowed to drive first. The inhabitants of this region are really friendly but also reserved for the visit from Tehran, and the first goes randomly in the village's maze. It soon becomes clear that Marziyeh lives and hides a place. And that her family is threatened by shame, because she insists on being allowed to continue to school and not wanting to submit to her role as a wife.



"Three Faces"



Iran 2018


Director and script: Jafar Panahi
Starring: Behnaz Jafari, Jafar Panahi, Marziyeh Rezaei, Maedeh Erteghaei
production: Celluloid Dreams
Rent: World Cinema Film Distribution
length: 100 minutes
Rated: from 12 years
start: December 26, 2018


Panahi contrasts retreated and reactionary views of the villagers with the self-confident Behnaz Jafari, who does not attempt to suppress his feelings, and as a great movie star also respects the province. Yet they cannot communicate because Jafari does not speak Turkish, and the old men are only bad Persians. One of the village elders encourages her to put her first-born son's hymn on burying her in Tehran. It should be good luck. Jafari reacts rather unlimitedly than shocked, and Panahi makes fun of him with a gentle mockery of the villagers.

Get out of the picture!

The director knows his way around, he made "Three Faces" where the parents and grandparents were born. In general, this movie has become more personal to Panahi. This is true even for the occasion: Panahi is repeatedly approached via social media by young people looking for a career as a filmmaker. He, of all people, who officially can't make movies.

"Drei Gesichter" is now the fourth, which nevertheless came after the verdict. Limited production options are inscribed in the movie, but Panahi has never used the art of shooting with a single camera. Instead of solving scenes through cuts and cuts as usual, he composed "Three Faces" from long shots where the protagonists sometimes leave the image space. It is a cinema of meaningful gloss in the tradition of the great Iranian film artist Abbas Kiarostami, where Panahi began his own career as an assistant.

In the video: "Three faces" trailer

Panahi takes women's party even more clearly with this movie. Panahi portrays three women of different generations, and he gives a silent optimism that the desire for female self-determination will prevail against every opportunity. And at some point there will be no need for horn rituals for mutual understanding.



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