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Entries in Asghar Farhadi (19)

Tuesday
May142019

The New Classics - A Separation

Michael Cusumano back again with my new series on great scenes/films of the 21st Century. This week a title we will surely hear often when the best of the decade lists start rolling in...

 

Scene: Razieh is Fired (aka The Incident)
It’s rare for a movie, even a great movie, to sneak up on the audience the way Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation does.

The screenplay is centered around an inflection point. Everything pulling the characters inexorably toward, or ricocheting off of, the moment when a man shoves a woman out his front door. Yet this action is not granted any special emphasis. First-time viewers have no clue they’ve witnessed the action around which the entire story pivots. It is only a few short scenes later, when the man is on trial for causing the miscarriage of the women he pushed (a murder charge in Iran) that the weight of that shove comes crashing home...

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Wednesday
Aug152018

Spain's Three Finalists (and other foreign film Oscar updates)

Time to start updating the Foreign Film Oscar submission charts on the regular! With the Venice/Telluride/TIFF wave about to hit we'll be getting regular news on which international films will be aiming for Oscar this season. Recently Spain announced their three finalists. They are...

 

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Wednesday
Apr112018

Cannes News: Everbody Knows, The Poster Unveils, and Netflix Whines

It's still wintry here in NYC (groan) but Spring technically arrived a little while ago which means that the Cannes film festival is right around the corner. Here are three pieces of news involving the festival which will run from May 8th to May 19th.

The Poster
This year's poster, pictured above, is a quad rather than a horizontal for some reason. Usually they come in both formats or are just horizontal. It's based on the work of stills photographer Georges Pierre and the Jean Luc Godard film Pierrot Le Fou (1965). That's two posters based on Godard films in fairly quick succession. Last year's poster featured 1960s Italian sex symbol Claudia Cardinale but the year before that the poster was in tribute to Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt (1963)! 'Maybe Cannes ought to look beyond the 1960s and Godard sometime soon?,' he suggested with ribbing affection. 

Opening Night film and the Netflix controversy after the jump...

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Monday
May082017

The Furniture: The Salesman Crafts His Own Stage

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

Asghar Farhadi's Oscar winning The Salesman begins with a set. The opening credits appear over the quiet stage of a small Tehran theater, nearly ready to debut a new production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. We see the bed before the actors who will lie in it, neon lights illuminated for an empty house. It is a quite literal setting of the stage before the drama begins.

It’s not a play adaptation, but it often feels like one. There are few locations and the cast is small. And, as in many play adaptations, the production design does a lot of heavy lifting...

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Tuesday
Feb282017

New Facts & Trivia from the 89th Oscars

Before we begin, a quick note that we shouldn't have to share but we do because the rest of the universe has conspired against the proper way of doing things. When we refer to an Oscar ceremony year we are talking about the year of the films honored, not the random month of the following year in which the ceremony is held. What we just witnessed was the 2016 Oscars. We don't know who will even be nominated for the 2017 Oscars yet though we'll make some early bird predictions on April 1st as we do.

Anyway... FACTS. TRIVIA. FUN.

La La Land's loss was shocking but its performance at the Oscars was not completely without precedent. Two other films in Oscar's 89 years have won the rare combo of Best Actress and Best Director without winning Best Picture. That would be Cabaret (1972, also the single film to win the most Oscars without winning Best Picture) and 7th Heaven (1927) in the very first year of the Oscars. That silent film is an unusual case though as Janet Gaynor won Best Actress for three roles including Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and Street Angel (Oscar quickly changed the rules so nominations could only be for one picture.) 

Arrival (8 nominations) is the first non-war film Best Picture nominee to win Sound Editing only...

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Tuesday
Jan312017

Farhadi Isn't Coming to the Oscars. Go See "The Salesman" in Solidarity

As we've previously noted briefly, the leading actress of The Salesman was not coming to the Oscars in protest of  T****'s unconstitutional and immoral ban on Muslims entering the US. Now the great Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) will not be attending the Oscars either. The ban has created chaos around the world and the awards show plans of filmmakers is, of course, low on the totem pole of injustices. But still, this sucks. When I spoke with Farhadi about The Salesman in December, he spoke fondly of the Oscar experience and how international it felt, sharing the experience with the other nominees.

Farhadi released a beautifully articulate damning statement which reads in part:

Hardliners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way. In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an “us and them” mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of “them” and inflict fear in the people of their own countries.

This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same. For years on both sides of the ocean, groups of hardliners have tried to present to their people unrealistic and fearful images of various nations and cultures in order to turn their differences into disagreements, their disagreements into enmities and their enmities into fears. Instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals.

Speaking truth to power. Every word of that is exactly right.