Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sohrab Shahid Saless - Tabiate bijan AKA Still Life (1974)

Description: An aging rail worker, living a mononously quiet life with his wife, is asked to retire. The second of the two austere-looking, deliberately paced films Shaheed Saless made in Iran proved to be one of the turning points of Iranian cinema in the 70s.Winner of numerous prizes at the Berlin Film Festival in 1974, including the Silver Bear for Best Director, STILL LIFE examines the lot in life of an old man who guards a railroad crossing and his wife, who brings in a meager income weaving carpets. After 30 years in the same job, the man is forced into retirement by the arrival of the new guard. Finally, he is forced to a bleak epiphany of society's indifference to his fate.

Saless made only two films in Iran; A Simple Incident (1973) and Still Life (1974), before falling out of favour with the Shah and going into exile in Germany while working on his never-to-be-completed third production, Quarantine. Despite this, Saless is very much the ‘father’ of contemporary Iranian film, these two films representing landmarks in the history of Iranian cinema. Still Life, which tells the story of a lonely railway worker and his wife, and their expendability during a time of rapid industrialization in Iran, introduced the minimalistic dialogue, (at times excruciatingly) slow camera movement, and methodical directing style that would become the hallmark of almost every other internationally popular Iranian director. Saless’s influence upon today’s directors cannot be underestimated, and yet he is hardly ever mentioned in any official histories you may read about Iranian (or even German) cinema. (Saless went on to make a number of acclaimed and award-winning films in Germany). Because he doesn’t fit neatly into the way in which Iran wants to market its films internationally, or the way in which international audiences currently receive or consume the product that is ‘Iranian Cinema’, he is forgotten.

with hardcodeb english sub.
no pass