Occasionally I will be commenting on films that make me think or feel here..and hopefully, you will enjoy my thoughts enough, that you will want to see the film yourself!
Director: Asghar Farhadi
This film is very clever, Asghar takes an everyday situation and turns it into a film. This film is…well it’s just like life! Because it’s not black or white, nothing gets fully resolved, and there are no happily ever afters. Half way through, it suddenly occurred to me that there had been NO music throughout! The soundtrack was purely the sounds that occur in life; traffic, laughter, crying, silences…I thought that was very clever. Because normally, the director uses music to guide the audience’s feelings. You could have the innocent face of a child with tears in their eyes, and put some comedy music to it, and it could seem really funny, or put sad music to it and you could cry…Without this, we were left with our own questions as what to feel or think about the complex situations that kept occurring. I couldn’t stop watching this film! There was so much suspense and the drama was great. Just like in ‘About Elle’ Asghar Farhadi says in his interview accompanying the feature on the DVD: “the characters are confronted by problems which are quite complex…It is the detail of day-to-day life that creates the chaos”
When I watched the interview, he said that he wanted to retain that sense of drama that he had developed in the theatre, in his own words: “I think my way of working with the actors and my way of directing them comes from my experience in the theatre.”
One of the really interesting things, is that he wrote, directed and produced this film, which made it feel completely believable and cohesive…He even used his own daughter Sarina Farhadi, as one of the main actresses, and tends to use actors that he’s worked with in the past…He works very closely with his actors, and I think this makes the acting very strong. I think it worked really well for him. Personally, I think it’s really good working with someone like a member of family or someone you’re close with, because you understand how they act and what they’re good at, and understand their weak spots. I think the benefit of working closely on all elements of the film is that the film’s vision stays clear and doesn’t suggest anything different. I find this appealing, because I write, direct, edit and produce my own films too, because I have a very clear vision of what I want it to look like, and imagine every single detail in my head, and I love to see that manifest.
This film is interesting the way it is shot in the style of a documentary, and yet we don’t ever see everything, so we keep guessing and questioning and wondering..So we are entering into the realms of the detective genre. In his own words:
“I now focus on the space between the lines. That is why in all films the audience doesn’t get to see everything. I leave them to imagine the things they cannot see on screen. Those visible details are essential to me.”
So what is this film about? Well some of the issues it raises for me, are: the consequences of partial truths, who holds the power in how we decide things…Is it our own morality? Is it our god? Our parents? Our legal system? Our work mates? Our relatives? Our fear of being punished? Our fear of what others might think? Is it money?
I also think this film is about the power of language, to be able to understand & explain things, but also the terrible consequences caused by misinterpreting words or speech. Asghar Farhadi himself says this about his film: “In the film we often see that lies come more from words than from behaviour. Through talking and listening words disappear, or become distorted. I am fascinated by problems of language”
The light that comes out of this film, is how all the characters still try to communicate throughout tough times and seemingly hopeless circumstances.