‘A Man of Integrity’

dregs_poster_goldposter_com_1.jpg@0o_0l_800w_80qAn honest yet downtrodden fish farmer (a quiet, nuanced performance by Reza Akhlaghirad in his film debut) fights corruption and injustice in rural Iran.

A Man of Integrity is a scathing critique of contemporary Iran (“you’re either oppressed or the oppressor”) as Reza looks for his family’s survival in the face of corporate expansion and control. Director Mohammad Rasoulof (Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Goodbye) teases out stoically naturalistic performances and a surprising tension from an age-old David and Goliath storyline.

Screened in the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Rating: 76%

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‘The Salesman’

SalesmanThe best film in a foreign language Oscar winner, The Salesman is a confident, assured piece of cinema.

Surprisingly low key and minimal, to label it a revenge thriller would be doing Asghar Fahardi (A Separation, The Past) a disservice. Yet Shahab Hosseini (A Separation, About Elly) is determined to discover the identity of the man who assaulted his wife (a superbly resigned Taraneh Alidoosti – Modest Reception, About Elly) in their own home.

As with the magnificent A Separation, Fahardi builds the tension (without overly altering the pace) primarily through words, leaving you somewhat breathless as the narrative builds towards its compelling finale.

Rating: 81%

‘A Girl Walks Home at Night’

A-girl-walks-home-posterSo few surprises at the Oscars that hardly worth pausing to mention (although delighted for Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne and J.K.Simmons).

So on with the everyday – not that A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is what I would describe as an everyday feature. It’s probably (almost certainly) the first b/w Iranian vampire feature directed by a woman: throw into the mix the fact that whilst filmed in Farsi, locations were California…. That alone would make it seeing.

And it’s certainly interesting. Not sure I would go as overboard as some critics have (“a new vampire classic” – The Playlist) – beguiling is more appropriate. The feature-length debut by award-winning director Ana Lily Amirpour (shorts True Love, A Little Suicide) of taking itself a little too artily seriously at times – longeurs of nothingness in semi-lit streets. But you certainly get drawn in.

Rating: 58%