Documentary Review : This is Not a Film (2012)

IMDB Score – 7.5
Rotten Tomato Score – 98%
Netflix Instant Watch

Directed By – Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi

It’s been months since Jafar Panahi, stuck in jail, has been awaiting a verdict by the appeals court. By depicting a day in his life, Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb try to portray the deprivations looming in contemporary Iranian cinema.

At only an hour and seventeen minutes, this short film said a lot to me without really saying anything at all. I’m not sure if any of it was intended by the film makers but what they created was a subtle political stance against the censorship of cinema and the right to creation. Jafar Panahi, a well known Iranian film maker responsible for such films as “Crimson Gold” and “Mirror”, pretty much gets bored one day in his apartment and decides to film himself doing ordinary things such as answering phone calls and reading emails. Mojtaba Mirtahmasb is called to come over and help Panahi with some ideas which turns into Panahi dictating a screenplay that he wasn’t allowed to make. Panahi lays tape on the floor to convey a room and he dictates how the camera moves and which direction it’s facing. A man who is certain to go to jail and facing a 20 year ban of making films, is making a film in his apartment, yet there is no film. He’s simply telling a story.

The title is correct. This is not a film. It’s merely a day in the life of Panahi with no direction or plot but what comes out of this day is very powerful. Hindering somebodies creative urges is inhumane as we can see what people will start to do to feed their passion. I honestly can’t really talk more about this film as it’s way too short and very quiet in relaying its message. It’s a film to be experienced by the viewer and taken for what they see it. Considering it’s such a short watch I can’t recommend seeing it enough.


Film Review : NEDS (2010)

Netflix Instant Watch
IMDB Score : 6.9
Rt Score : 94%

I’m never going to Scotland. Apparently all that happens there is knife crimes and getting the shit kicked out of you by gangs who speak unintelligible English. Seriously, if you watch this film on my recommendation on Netflix you’ll notice that there are subtitles even though they’re speaking English. This is very necessary. It was a very true to the area film directed by a fantastic actor Peter Mullan. The story revolves around a small town and the gangs of young thugs that inhabit it. The protagonist, played brilliantly by Connor McCarron starts out innocent but falls into dark depths. I thought the film ran too long but there were moments of brilliance and sheer brutality to keep the viewer interested in the film to the end. Speaking of the end. Lions. That is all. Overall I enjoyed it but if you’re looking for a perfect British film about gangs then there is no other place to look than This is England. This was a great effort though and I’d like to see other films by Mullan. He has a certain grit to him that I find interesting.


Film Review : Samsara (2011)

IMDB Score : 8.2
RT Score : 77%

Okay, so this is a bit different. Samsara is a “documentary” about the cycle of life throughout nature, culture, and humanity. Ron Fricke‘s third film after Chronos and Baraka, Samsara is filmed without a single word of dialogue but the images portrayed in the film speak volumes. There isn’t really much to say about this film. It’s a totally visceral experience that can only be experienced when watch…preferably on blu-ray. It’s gorgeous. I’m going to post a bunch of pictures instead of babbling about it.