Banned by both the Shah and the incredibly reactionary Khomeini government, “Tall Shadows of the Wind” is a very blunt horror film using the scarecrow that terrorizes the villagers as a metaphor for the Iranian ruling class and its tactics of exploiting people’s ignorance as its own weapon. The opening sequence and the climax may easily point to the idea of demythologizing the regime and its dangers, but the claustrophobic atmosphere is more likely to evoke the methods of Iranian…
Meteor and Shadow 1985
A very bourgeois biopic about a gay communist poet that is neither interested in his communist ideals nor his romantic involvement. A scattered portrait of an artist that is neither passionate, confrontational nor effectively stylized. A true disappointment.
In Search of Famine 1981
An actress plays a game where she asks the film crew about some photos of starving people and from which famines they are taken. A villager mocks how this filmmaking group accidentally causes a famine in the village where they shot a movie about famine. With just a few minor details but these have already established what maybe the most sardonic yet politically sensitive work I have seen from Mrinal Sen so far. In the treatment of 1943 Bengal famine,…
East Palace, West Palace 1996
I always have my doubts about gay films written by straight filmmakers, especially since the portrait of queer character in this one is rife with stereotypes. He (A Lan) definitely has to go through lots of shit here, with the constant intimidation and humiliation from the nosy policeman, Xiao Shi. But surprisingly, this drama never turns into a play of misery or uses the basic story of a sad, lonely queer man who has been oppressed in his entire life…