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Like Someone in Love (2012) by Abbas Kiarostami
Like Someone in Love is a strangely hypnotic film. The film’s made of self-contained scenes — watch any of them out of context and you’ll find that they work just as well on their own. That’s how I pretty much approached the entire film: I experienced each scene on its own and didn’t really pay attention to the overall narrative (and although I did wonder where the story was headed, it frankly didn’t matter to me that it was going nowhere). 
Sidenote: the abrupt ending could be seen as a cop out, but now that you’ve been warned, it won’t come as a surprise, nor is it a big deal.
Two scenes stood out for me: Akiko spying on her grandmother from inside a cab (heart-wrenching) + the professor’s neighbour chatting with Akiko (sad and creepy). Like Someone in Love (2012) by Abbas Kiarostami
Like Someone in Love is a strangely hypnotic film. The film’s made of self-contained scenes — watch any of them out of context and you’ll find that they work just as well on their own. That’s how I pretty much approached the entire film: I experienced each scene on its own and didn’t really pay attention to the overall narrative (and although I did wonder where the story was headed, it frankly didn’t matter to me that it was going nowhere). 
Sidenote: the abrupt ending could be seen as a cop out, but now that you’ve been warned, it won’t come as a surprise, nor is it a big deal.
Two scenes stood out for me: Akiko spying on her grandmother from inside a cab (heart-wrenching) + the professor’s neighbour chatting with Akiko (sad and creepy). Like Someone in Love (2012) by Abbas Kiarostami
Like Someone in Love is a strangely hypnotic film. The film’s made of self-contained scenes — watch any of them out of context and you’ll find that they work just as well on their own. That’s how I pretty much approached the entire film: I experienced each scene on its own and didn’t really pay attention to the overall narrative (and although I did wonder where the story was headed, it frankly didn’t matter to me that it was going nowhere). 
Sidenote: the abrupt ending could be seen as a cop out, but now that you’ve been warned, it won’t come as a surprise, nor is it a big deal.
Two scenes stood out for me: Akiko spying on her grandmother from inside a cab (heart-wrenching) + the professor’s neighbour chatting with Akiko (sad and creepy). Like Someone in Love (2012) by Abbas Kiarostami
Like Someone in Love is a strangely hypnotic film. The film’s made of self-contained scenes — watch any of them out of context and you’ll find that they work just as well on their own. That’s how I pretty much approached the entire film: I experienced each scene on its own and didn’t really pay attention to the overall narrative (and although I did wonder where the story was headed, it frankly didn’t matter to me that it was going nowhere). 
Sidenote: the abrupt ending could be seen as a cop out, but now that you’ve been warned, it won’t come as a surprise, nor is it a big deal.
Two scenes stood out for me: Akiko spying on her grandmother from inside a cab (heart-wrenching) + the professor’s neighbour chatting with Akiko (sad and creepy). Like Someone in Love (2012) by Abbas Kiarostami
Like Someone in Love is a strangely hypnotic film. The film’s made of self-contained scenes — watch any of them out of context and you’ll find that they work just as well on their own. That’s how I pretty much approached the entire film: I experienced each scene on its own and didn’t really pay attention to the overall narrative (and although I did wonder where the story was headed, it frankly didn’t matter to me that it was going nowhere). 
Sidenote: the abrupt ending could be seen as a cop out, but now that you’ve been warned, it won’t come as a surprise, nor is it a big deal.
Two scenes stood out for me: Akiko spying on her grandmother from inside a cab (heart-wrenching) + the professor’s neighbour chatting with Akiko (sad and creepy). Like Someone in Love (2012) by Abbas Kiarostami
Like Someone in Love is a strangely hypnotic film. The film’s made of self-contained scenes — watch any of them out of context and you’ll find that they work just as well on their own. That’s how I pretty much approached the entire film: I experienced each scene on its own and didn’t really pay attention to the overall narrative (and although I did wonder where the story was headed, it frankly didn’t matter to me that it was going nowhere). 
Sidenote: the abrupt ending could be seen as a cop out, but now that you’ve been warned, it won’t come as a surprise, nor is it a big deal.
Two scenes stood out for me: Akiko spying on her grandmother from inside a cab (heart-wrenching) + the professor’s neighbour chatting with Akiko (sad and creepy).

    Like Someone in Love (2012) by Abbas Kiarostami

    Like Someone in Love is a strangely hypnotic film. The film’s made of self-contained scenes — watch any of them out of context and you’ll find that they work just as well on their own. That’s how I pretty much approached the entire film: I experienced each scene on its own and didn’t really pay attention to the overall narrative (and although I did wonder where the story was headed, it frankly didn’t matter to me that it was going nowhere). 

    Sidenote: the abrupt ending could be seen as a cop out, but now that you’ve been warned, it won’t come as a surprise, nor is it a big deal.

    Two scenes stood out for me: Akiko spying on her grandmother from inside a cab (heart-wrenching) + the professor’s neighbour chatting with Akiko (sad and creepy).

    Darbareye Elly (About Elly) (2009) by Asghar Farhadi

    Although About Elly's just come out in the UK, it was actually made two years before A Separation. Those two films are equally superb; they’re both intensely gripping psychological thrillers and they both rely on a sensational ensemble cast (sidenote: Peyman Moadi and Shahab Hosseini play friends in About Elly and enemies in A Separation). 

    Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian:

    The colossal success of A Separation has triggered an interest in director Asghar Farhadi’s back catalogue and now his previous work, from 2009, has come to the UK. It is a really absorbing picture, powerfully acted, disturbing and suspenseful. Like A Separation it challenges the sexual politics of contemporary Iran and further shows how different Farhadi is from the older generation of Iranian masters such as Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf. The points of reference for About Elly are probably more European: Polanski’s Knife in the Water, Antonioni’s L’Avventura; and Farhadi also has Michael Haneke’s beady eye for the dynamics and symptoms of group guilt.

    A group of friends – well-to-do professionals from Tehran – have gone on holiday together to the seaside, with their young children. Farhadi shows that this is a trip they have organised quite impulsively: when they arrive, there is some confusion about where they are supposed to be staying, and they have to move into a beachfront villa that happens to be vacant, but is chaotic and derelict. And there is something else. One of the party, the vivacious Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani) has invited along someone of whom they know next to nothing: a young woman called Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti), who is their children’s teacher. Mischievous Sepideh is hoping to set Elly up with the single friend in their party: Ahmad (Shahab Hosseini), who is recently divorced and has just returned from a long stay doing business in Germany.

    Ahmad and Elly good-naturedly see what is going on, and even go along with it, to the extent of having an intimate conversation when they go off together on an errand in the car. But Farhadi creates strange swirls and eddies of tension. The rest of the group make gigglingly raucous jokes about the impending wedding when Elly is out of the room but the ensuing discomfort – in which Sepideh appears to be a participant – appears to go beyond mere embarrassment. Eventually there is a crisis and a bizarre disappearance, and the aftermath exposes the fault lines in the group’s relationship, as secrets and lies come to the surface.

    About Elly confirms Farhadi’s shrewd judgment of pace, dramatic technique and formal control of an ensemble cast. Anyone who admired A Separation will want to see it but it stands on its own as a fascinating psychological drama.

    [Seen @ Curzon Soho, London, 15 September 2012]

    This Is Not a Film (2011) by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi

    Pretty much the only scene I like in This Is Not a Film : Panahi’s phone chat with his lawyer (discussing his six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing movies) + the touching incident with his child actress during the filming of The Mirror. I found the rest of the film utterly boring and couldn’t keep my eyes open for most of it (a dog, an Iguana and a trash collector offered a semblance of comedy and action that Panahi desperately needed to keep his camera/iphone rolling)… I still think it’s worth a watch and that documenting Panahi’s plight and getting a glimpse of what he’s going through is rather important. Everything about this documentary is interesting;..pity I was bored to tears. 

    Jafar Panahi’s wiki entry => HERE

    [Seen @ the ICA, London, 8 Apr 2012]

    Out of the 50-odd 2011 releases I’ve seen, these five films have made my year. A Separation and Senna are probably the two I’d put at the very top of the list, having responded quite strongly to them emotionally, while the other three are more aesthetic choices.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi — Iran)
Superb Iranian drama that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The acting is superb across the board.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….Senna (Asif Kapadia — UK)
Thrilling, gripping, moving, gut-wrenching & inspiring. That about sums it up, I think.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt — USA)
Bleak and austere, beautiful and hypnotic, there’s very little dialogue but plenty of stunning shots & some great acting (Michelle Williams really shines in this and Bruce Greenwood is unrecognizable). This is definitely going to be on my Best-of-2011 list. About the polarizing ending: the last shot is exactly what I had imagined the film would end with.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz — Portugal)
Full-blown intrigue and romanticism, women at their most delicate fainting right left and center, some awesome tracking shots and camera angles, tons of characters, locations, languages, sub-plots, costumes, and some seriously grandiose interiors. And all that over 4.5 hours.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr — Hungary)
Gloom, doom and gusty winds.  
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Films of 2011 blogged on this tumblr => HERE
Films of 2011 I saw and liked (not ranked, but listed in some sort of chronological order) => HERE Out of the 50-odd 2011 releases I’ve seen, these five films have made my year. A Separation and Senna are probably the two I’d put at the very top of the list, having responded quite strongly to them emotionally, while the other three are more aesthetic choices.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi — Iran)
Superb Iranian drama that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The acting is superb across the board.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….Senna (Asif Kapadia — UK)
Thrilling, gripping, moving, gut-wrenching & inspiring. That about sums it up, I think.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt — USA)
Bleak and austere, beautiful and hypnotic, there’s very little dialogue but plenty of stunning shots & some great acting (Michelle Williams really shines in this and Bruce Greenwood is unrecognizable). This is definitely going to be on my Best-of-2011 list. About the polarizing ending: the last shot is exactly what I had imagined the film would end with.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz — Portugal)
Full-blown intrigue and romanticism, women at their most delicate fainting right left and center, some awesome tracking shots and camera angles, tons of characters, locations, languages, sub-plots, costumes, and some seriously grandiose interiors. And all that over 4.5 hours.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr — Hungary)
Gloom, doom and gusty winds.  
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Films of 2011 blogged on this tumblr => HERE
Films of 2011 I saw and liked (not ranked, but listed in some sort of chronological order) => HERE Out of the 50-odd 2011 releases I’ve seen, these five films have made my year. A Separation and Senna are probably the two I’d put at the very top of the list, having responded quite strongly to them emotionally, while the other three are more aesthetic choices.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi — Iran)
Superb Iranian drama that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The acting is superb across the board.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….Senna (Asif Kapadia — UK)
Thrilling, gripping, moving, gut-wrenching & inspiring. That about sums it up, I think.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt — USA)
Bleak and austere, beautiful and hypnotic, there’s very little dialogue but plenty of stunning shots & some great acting (Michelle Williams really shines in this and Bruce Greenwood is unrecognizable). This is definitely going to be on my Best-of-2011 list. About the polarizing ending: the last shot is exactly what I had imagined the film would end with.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz — Portugal)
Full-blown intrigue and romanticism, women at their most delicate fainting right left and center, some awesome tracking shots and camera angles, tons of characters, locations, languages, sub-plots, costumes, and some seriously grandiose interiors. And all that over 4.5 hours.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr — Hungary)
Gloom, doom and gusty winds.  
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Films of 2011 blogged on this tumblr => HERE
Films of 2011 I saw and liked (not ranked, but listed in some sort of chronological order) => HERE Out of the 50-odd 2011 releases I’ve seen, these five films have made my year. A Separation and Senna are probably the two I’d put at the very top of the list, having responded quite strongly to them emotionally, while the other three are more aesthetic choices.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi — Iran)
Superb Iranian drama that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The acting is superb across the board.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….Senna (Asif Kapadia — UK)
Thrilling, gripping, moving, gut-wrenching & inspiring. That about sums it up, I think.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt — USA)
Bleak and austere, beautiful and hypnotic, there’s very little dialogue but plenty of stunning shots & some great acting (Michelle Williams really shines in this and Bruce Greenwood is unrecognizable). This is definitely going to be on my Best-of-2011 list. About the polarizing ending: the last shot is exactly what I had imagined the film would end with.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz — Portugal)
Full-blown intrigue and romanticism, women at their most delicate fainting right left and center, some awesome tracking shots and camera angles, tons of characters, locations, languages, sub-plots, costumes, and some seriously grandiose interiors. And all that over 4.5 hours.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr — Hungary)
Gloom, doom and gusty winds.  
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Films of 2011 blogged on this tumblr => HERE
Films of 2011 I saw and liked (not ranked, but listed in some sort of chronological order) => HERE Out of the 50-odd 2011 releases I’ve seen, these five films have made my year. A Separation and Senna are probably the two I’d put at the very top of the list, having responded quite strongly to them emotionally, while the other three are more aesthetic choices.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi — Iran)
Superb Iranian drama that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The acting is superb across the board.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….Senna (Asif Kapadia — UK)
Thrilling, gripping, moving, gut-wrenching & inspiring. That about sums it up, I think.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt — USA)
Bleak and austere, beautiful and hypnotic, there’s very little dialogue but plenty of stunning shots & some great acting (Michelle Williams really shines in this and Bruce Greenwood is unrecognizable). This is definitely going to be on my Best-of-2011 list. About the polarizing ending: the last shot is exactly what I had imagined the film would end with.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz — Portugal)
Full-blown intrigue and romanticism, women at their most delicate fainting right left and center, some awesome tracking shots and camera angles, tons of characters, locations, languages, sub-plots, costumes, and some seriously grandiose interiors. And all that over 4.5 hours.
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr — Hungary)
Gloom, doom and gusty winds.  
Original blog post => HERE
………………………………………….
Films of 2011 blogged on this tumblr => HERE
Films of 2011 I saw and liked (not ranked, but listed in some sort of chronological order) => HERE

      Out of the 50-odd 2011 releases I’ve seen, these five films have made my year. A Separation and Senna are probably the two I’d put at the very top of the list, having responded quite strongly to them emotionally, while the other three are more aesthetic choices.

      A Separation (Asghar Farhadi — Iran)

      Superb Iranian drama that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The acting is superb across the board.

      Original blog post => HERE

      ………………………………………….

      Senna (Asif Kapadia — UK)

      Thrilling, gripping, moving, gut-wrenching & inspiring. That about sums it up, I think.

      Original blog post => HERE

      ………………………………………….

      Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt — USA)

      Bleak and austere, beautiful and hypnotic, there’s very little dialogue but plenty of stunning shots & some great acting (Michelle Williams really shines in this and Bruce Greenwood is unrecognizable). This is definitely going to be on my Best-of-2011 list. About the polarizing ending: the last shot is exactly what I had imagined the film would end with.

      Original blog post => HERE

      ………………………………………….

      Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz — Portugal)

      Full-blown intrigue and romanticism, women at their most delicate fainting right left and center, some awesome tracking shots and camera angles, tons of characters, locations, languages, sub-plots, costumes, and some seriously grandiose interiors. And all that over 4.5 hours.

      Original blog post => HERE

      ………………………………………….

      The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr — Hungary)

      Gloom, doom and gusty winds.  

      Original blog post => HERE

      ………………………………………….

      Films of 2011 blogged on this tumblr => HERE

      Films of 2011 I saw and liked (not ranked, but listed in some sort of chronological order) => HERE

      Nader and Simin, A Separation (2011) by Asghar Farhadi

      Superb Iranian drama that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. One of the very very best I’ve seen this year so far — no wonder it received this year’s Golden Bear for Best Film and Silver Bears for Best Actress and Best Actor.

       
      Dave Calhoun for Time Out London:

      […] We meet thirtysomething couple Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) in the divorce courts, a front-on shot hiding the judge but revealing an awkward rapport between the pair as Simin insists she wants to leave Iran. She doesn’t want their eleven-year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) to grow up ‘in these circumstances’, she says. Nader disagrees, not least because his elderly father with Alzheimer’s lives with them and needs care.

      The situation is unresolved. Simin moves in with her parents, while Nader hires a woman, Razieh (Sareh Bayat), with her own domestic pressures, to look after his father while he’s at work. She’s from a lower class, and her presence helps the film in its effort to examine differing attitudes in Iran to status, gender and religion – an examination that never overwhelms a drama that puts to the fore strong writing, characterisation and acting.

      A marital separation and new domestic situation may seem trivial or everyday, but it’s this new set-up which proves a catalyst to events – best left unrevealed – of potentially life-changing proportions. Small decisions have big repercussions and we’re never sure who’s right or wrong as an intensifying debate drags in other protagonists, including Razieh’s hot-headed husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), Razieh’s daughter, a teacher and a judge.

      ‘A Separation’ is lively and suspenseful as both drama and debate. It employs a tricksy moral compass that swings all over the place as we see its story from various viewpoints. It prods gently at middle-class entitlement of the how-can-this-be-happening-to-me variety, but it also avoids the trap of coming down on the side of less worldly characters. If it reserves a significant amount of sympathy for anyone, it’s for the side players – the old man and the kids – to whom its gaze keeps returning, refusing to forget those outside the eye of the storm but equally bruised by it.

      Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian:

      […] As the movie progresses, terrible things happen in a succession of unintended consequences. Flawed people behave badly and they will make ferocious appeals to justice and to law in preliminary hearings very similar to the divorce court, heard by harassed, careworn officials oppressed by the knowledge that there is no black and white, but numberless shades of grey. Despite the angry denunciations flying back and forth and the fizzing sense of grievance being nursed on both sides, the messy, difficult truth is that both parties can be justified, that all-or-nothing judicial war will bring destruction, and that some sort of face-saving compromise will somehow have to be patched up. The women see this, but not the men. 

      […] Farhadi shows how this situation is like a pool of petrol into which any event lands like a lighted match. Everyone is aware of their rights and how angry they feel at injustices and slights, and the women are grimly aware of the double responsibility of finding a working solution and persuading their menfolk to accept it. Yet one thing cannot be bargained away: the children. In the end, Termeh is the central figure. She sees everything, she forces her father to make a key admission, and then, excruciatingly, is put into a false position on his behalf. Her pain and anger are all mostly hidden. But she is the person on whom a terrible, unspeakable burden is to fall – a burden both judicial and moral. The adults’ pettiness and selfishness have forced this on her: it is an insidious kind of abuse. With great power and subtlety, Farhadi transforms this ugly quarrel into a contemporary tragedy.