Farassati also argues that these films tend to be dark in their subject matter and thus provide a bad image of Iran for the West. They reinforce negative beliefs about Iran, which in certain ways can be true. But of course he also knows that many major award-winning films from all over the world have been critical of their own societies and governments. This is what artists do.
“Movement is just another language used to convey an emotional experience or fantasy. There are many things your body is capable of that you are not exactly consciously aware of and Gaga in particular allows you to continually surprise yourself because of its non-structure. The most satisfying discoveries for me are when through movement I find how to articulate something I cannot accurately put into words.”
Early in the hour-long film, “The Judicial Murder of Jakub Mohr,” the central protagonist, a patient in a psychiatric ward, shouts in Czech, “My words are not my own!” [“Moje slova nejsou moje!”]. He is on Kafka-esque trial for saying out loud what is visibly true: a series of wires—“Threads!” rebukes the prosecutor—extend from his back and connect to an ominous box, which is held by a man who in turn dictates in whispers what the patient says. At one point, Mohr lists to the jury in indignation what he has become: a gramophone, a radio, an instrument. He is something between human self and machine, a cyborg, his agency mediated by the state and psychiatric institution.
Last July, in an attempt to spare us from the summer heat, my son and I took refuge inside an estate sale. The house was overrun with strangers, everyone ogling the goods left behind by the home’s previous owners. We, too, did our fair share of ogling—peering into rooms and closets in search of treasures left behind. Eventually, I found them: dozens of vintage postcards from around the world, none of them yet sullied by stamps.
Not long after reading David Shields’s Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, still high on its rallying cry for emotion over narrative, concision over Great American Novel bloat, I came across :: kogonada’s work. In his visual essays I discovered the cinematic version of what Shields called “the folk tradition in action: finding new uses for things by selecting the parts that move you and discarding the rest.”