|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Iran | UK | Italy 200
This is the debut feature film written and directed by the
Iranian born Babak Jalali, presented as a world première in August 2009 at the
62nd Locarno International Film Festival.
The pathos of a declining macho culture is captured in all its taciturn insignificance in Babak Jalali’s offbeat debut. However, in dwelling on the soul-crushing repetitiveness of life on the Turkmen-Iranian border, Jalali generates his own ennui, as he fails to provide much insight into the principals or their morose steppe existence. The focus is divided between slow-witted donkey owner Abolfazl Karimi, his outfitter uncle Behzad Shahrivari, restless chicken farmer Mahmoud Kalteh and testy minstrel Khajeh Araz Dordi. But, while Dordi’s encounter with a patronising Tehran photographer raises a few smiles and Kalteh’s dream of marrying a local girl is achingly melancholic, too little happens at too slow a pace to engross.
Theatrical Release: August 11th, 2009 - Locarno Film Festival
DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Artificial Eye Film Company - Region 0 - PAL|
Average Bitrate: 5.8 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Persian | Turkmen (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
- an African in Iran (18:15)
I very much appreciated the humor leanings in Frontier Blues and also re-found my previous complaint of much of the Iranian cinema that I see - the films identify the issues - usually in a unique poetic manner - but avoid offering solutions. This, shamefully, allows me to find amusement - even in the melancholy circumstances. In this way I might even compare it to Zhang Yimou's The Story of Qui Ju - in subtly ridiculing cultural stays. Only it's not so subtle here - bordering on flat out parody interspersed with a few majestic static shots. But, honestly there is a lot here I enjoyed. I found the, deliberately paced, storytelling kind of fresh and unique.
This is probably the only print Artificial Eye were given (judging by the imposed subtitles and flat, analog-representative, bitrate) but thankfully it looks fine - dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic in and around 1.85:1. There is noise - it has some surprising damage/speckle marks - especially notable in the beginning but it didn't hurt my presentation. Colors are fine - this is an acceptable if imperfect looking film. Good news I don't see any flagrant digital manipulation. Anyway, I had no strong complaints overall.
Audio is 2.0 channel unremarkable but close, I'll wager, to the way it was produced. As stated the subtitles are burned-in (non-removable). Good news again that I don't see excessive manipulation and the image is fairly clean. The SD-DVD disc is PAL and region free.
As an extra we get Heydar - an African in Iran - an 18-minute short by Babak Jalali from 2005 and may have been the first draft of Frontier Blues. It's very good and as you wish it was longer - you, indeed, get the feature film. There is also a trailer.
The DVD is typical of Artificial Eye - solid effort transferring a lesser exposed film to a new, appreciative, audience. I didn't know what to expect before giving this a spin and had a great time laughing out loud at times and being impressed with a substantial, weightiness below the surface. I know a few people I can lend this too who will also like it a lot. Thumbs up!