Mohammad Rasoulof

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swo17
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Mohammad Rasoulof

#1 Post by swo17 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:13 pm

Mohammad Rasoulof (1972 - )

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If I have to close my eyes on something, I prefer not to do it on my social environment.
I prefer to make my movie, and then close my eyes on the fear of the possible repercussions.



Filmography

Friday (1991)

The Pin (1993)

Seven Dreams (1994)

Ten Seconds More (1995)

The Glass House (1997)

Evening Party (1999)

The Twilight (2002) R1 Facets

Iron Island (2005) R1 Kino

Head Wind (2008)

The White Meadows (2009) R1 Global Film Initiative

Goodbye (2011)

Manuscripts Don't Burn (2013) R1 Kino / R2 StudioCanal

A Man of Integrity (2017)


Web Resources

Cinema Scope

Aljazeera America

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joshua
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Re: Global Film Initiative

#2 Post by joshua » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:35 pm

swo17 wrote:Global Film Initiative apparently put out Mohammad Rasoulof's The White Meadows, which I've been dying to see for a couple years now, on DVD earlier this year.
Just to warn you, the subtitles on this disc are burned in and the print is a little rough looking (to put it mildly). If you have the option, I'd recommend watching this on Hulu instead of/before buying the disc.

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Kirkinson
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Re: Global Film Initiative

#3 Post by Kirkinson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:44 pm

Either way, everyone should get their eyes in front of it posthaste, because it's one of the greatest films made in the last several years. If Hulu's not an option, the Global Film Initiative's DVDs seem to have a pretty good public library presence.

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AlexHansen
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Re: Global Film Initiative

#4 Post by AlexHansen » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:01 pm

It's also up on Fandor as well.

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swo17
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Re: Global Film Initiative

#5 Post by swo17 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:27 pm

I finally got around to seeing The White Meadows and it didn't disappoint. The initial thrust of the plot (a man travels from shore to shore, collecting the inhabitants' sadness) had potential to quickly devolve into cheesiness, but thankfully went in all sorts of dark and surprising directions. And its ruminations on the suppression of artistic thought are of course all the more impactful considering the current climate of the filmmaking industry in Iran. (Note that Jafar Panahi served as editor on this film. And also that, assuming IMDb is correct, the film has never been screened in Iran.) But the main attraction here is the haunting, inventive visuals, some artfully assembled by the en masse placement of props in natural landscapes, and others simply achieved through strategic camera placement--at times the sea seems to blend right into the sky, with both ready to fold right over onto the people on land.

As indicated, the transfer on the DVD does look rather rough, but it looks like a rough film print as opposed to a shoddy DVD. Also, the DVD-ROM comes with a lengthy viewer's guide (in pdf format) designed to prompt further reflection on the film, complete with film club-style discussion questions to consider. Which is kind of neat. All in all, I highly recommend the film, however you're able to see it.

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swo17
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#6 Post by swo17 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:03 pm

So Goodbye recently became available for viewing through backchannels, and it's a real departure from the metaphorical approach taken in Rasoulof's earlier work, offering a more realistic and biting portrait of modern Iran. Here we have a female lawyer whose husband and career have been taken from her by the system. Her life is constantly invaded by the government's laws (and sometimes employees). She doesn't want a child ("to bring one into this environment would be a sin") but gets pregnant anyway to improve her chances of being able to leave the country. She later comes to regret this decision and considers terminating the pregnancy. The story starts to turn into something like 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, only focusing more on the woman's emotional connection (or lack thereof) to her unborn child than on the actual process of trying to obtain an abortion. And then, in an understated but nonetheless devastating finale...
SpoilerShow
The woman seems to have developed a lasting connection with her future child and found in it a chance to be reborn herself--she will keep the baby. This is a momentous decision that should have immeasurable impact on at least a handful of people's lives. Life is difficult enough just dealing with decisions like this one. But then we see that it's all for naught, as her space is once again invaded and she is taken away to experience unseen but imagined horrors. Her fate is very simply conveyed visually through the callousness with which a picture of a child--once a symbol of wonder, and of the possibilities of life--is cast aside while rooting through a suitcase. But the point is clear: This woman has just won a tortured battle with herself and in the process caught a glimmer of her strength and humanity, long hidden by an oppressive regime. And then been crushed like an ant.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#7 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:24 pm

Perhaps because the last film I had seen prior to Rasoulof's A Man of Integrity was Andrey Zvyagintsev's Loveless, I couldn't help comparing it to the latter director's Leviathan, as both similarly grapple with stoic, intractable protagonists slowly being steamrolled by the corrupt, ineffective, and/or inhumane institutions and people around them. The two films lead their main characters to different fates in the face of these forces, but have similarly bleak perspectives on those trying to maintain the titular trait in societies that reward cruelty and criminality and punish independence and nonconformity.

Integrity is the first film of Rasoulof's I've seen, so I can't compare to his other work, but this film's weakness seemed to be the inconsistent and somewhat haphazard characterization of its two leads - the goldfish farmer played by Reza Akhlaghirad and his wife (Soudabeh Beizaee). While the central theme of having to choose between submitting to oppression or becoming an oppressor is clearly articulated through both character's actions, the couple's specific reasoning and behavior in making those choices means that the consequences don't always land with the power that they could have, either due to seeming inconsistencies in their characters' motivations or just a lack of clarity around the implications of those choices. The latter may be due to an ignorance on my part of certain cultural/language cues that would potentially improve upon second viewing, but while definitely a worthwhile film, it's hard not to feel as though this falls a bit short of its potential and ambitions.

That said, Rasoulof's willingness and ability to create the film at all by sneaking into rural northern Iran and filming in secret while under indictment by the government is powerful in its own right, and understanding this context certainly adds weight to the film and its messages.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Non-Political News and Current Events Discussion Thread

#8 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:23 pm

Iranian director Mohamad Rasoulof sentenced to one year in prison
Rasoulof has been accused of “endangering national security” and “propaganda against the Islamic government”.

The filmmaker is also not allowed to leave Iran for two years and has been banned from membership of political and social organisations for the same period, read reports.

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swo17
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Re: The Non-Political News and Current Events Discussion Thread

#9 Post by swo17 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:36 pm

Ugh

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Big Ben
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Re: The Non-Political News and Current Events Discussion Thread

#10 Post by Big Ben » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:41 pm

There's been some efforts from organizations to bring attention to Rasoulof, notably Cannes.

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zedz
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Re: The Non-Political News and Current Events Discussion Thread

#11 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:43 pm

This is non-political news how? Why not just change the thread title to "Non-American News and Current Events" if political news from the rest of the world doesn't count for some reason?

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Non-Political News and Current Events Discussion Thread

#12 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:09 pm

zedz wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:43 pm
This is non-political news how? Why not just change the thread title to "Non-American News and Current Events" if political news from the rest of the world doesn't count for some reason?
You're not wrong that it shouldn't be in non-political news — not least because I spaced that he already has his own filmmaker thread — but that has less to do with a lack of concern regarding political prisoners outside the US than it does trying to post something in a rush during a meeting. No offense intended.

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domino harvey
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#13 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:13 pm

I mean, you can't spell DarkInbecile without I-R-A-N △

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#14 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:19 pm

I think "Imbecile" is the part zedz was emphasizing, which: tough, but fair

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zedz
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Re: The Non-Political News and Current Events Discussion Thread

#15 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:26 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:09 pm
zedz wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:43 pm
This is non-political news how? Why not just change the thread title to "Non-American News and Current Events" if political news from the rest of the world doesn't count for some reason?
You're not wrong that it shouldn't be in non-political news — not least because I spaced that he already has his own filmmaker thread — but that has less to do with a lack of concern regarding political prisoners outside the US than it does trying to post something in a rush during a meeting. No offense intended.
Oh, I didn't think it was your fault, it just that sometimes you can really feel the lack of a dedicated "international Political News" thread, and having the catch-all news thread demarcated as "non-political" feels somewhat insulting when you get a situation like this.

At any rate, Rasoulof is a truly great filmmaker who has been treated appallingly, and we should be supporting him however we can.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#16 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:32 pm

Absolutely; I happened to see him introduce a screening of A Man of Integrity at Telluride two years ago just before he returned to Iran, where he was detained immediately. I don’t know if attention from Cannes or other international arts groups hurts or helps his situation, but the outrage is deserved.

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knives
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#17 Post by knives » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:44 pm

It seems to have loosened the reigns on Panahi who has made about four films since his arrest.

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zedz
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#18 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:08 pm

They're both dealing with their unfortunate situation in their own way, with Panahi making personal films that he finds inventive ways to disavow the direction of. Rasoulof's three post-arrest films are even more directly confrontational and critical of the status quo than the films he made beforehand (which is saying something), whereas Panahi's are a lot more oblique than Offside, or Crimson Gold, or The Circle. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and I think Taxi and 3 Faces are perhaps the best things he's done.

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knives
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#19 Post by knives » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:23 pm

I wasn't aware Rasoulof had made films since. I thought he was in tighter conditions.

dda1996a
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#20 Post by dda1996a » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:34 pm

Can someone explain how they manage to keep making films that are shown worldwide, while being "under arrest/ban from filmmaking"?

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zedz
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#21 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:44 pm

knives wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:23 pm
I wasn't aware Rasoulof had made films since. I thought he was in tighter conditions.
Goodbye, Manuscripts Must Burn and A Man of Integrity all came out after his 2010 arrest and filmmaking ban. He made the films covertly while out on bail, and they were smuggled out of the country to appear in international festivals. I understand that Panahi is operating in a similar way, with the additional whimsy of claiming he didn't actually direct or write the films, or that they're not films in the first place.

I think Manuscripts Don't Burn is the only post-arrest Rasoulof film readily available with English subs. His three earlier features are also out on US / UK DVDs.

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knives
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#22 Post by knives » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:08 pm

Ah, I thought Manuscripts was his last before his arrest.

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BenoitRouilly
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#23 Post by BenoitRouilly » Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:14 am

I wonder too how they are not under 24/7 surveillance, or their liberties supressed after the first time they smuggle out a forbidden film...
If I were in their situation I would use a pseudonym to submit to festivals and only reveal the real author when liberated / after the regime change in Iran.
This said I admire them both for their courage to continue to make films under such conditions. This could be said of all Iranian filmmakers as well.

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Black Hat
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Re: Mohammad Rasoulof

#24 Post by Black Hat » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:58 pm

dda1996a wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:34 pm
Can someone explain how they manage to keep making films that are shown worldwide, while being "under arrest/ban from filmmaking"?
Iran's an extremely complicated country rife with contradictions that has to be delicately balanced by all parties. Many a time what is reported or announced is done so for public relations in an effort to appease someone or some faction, but in practice it is usually ignored or forgotten about and everyone carries on with their lives. Western media of course likes to deal in headlines without ever really digging further because this approach serves their narrative purposes. If you're interested in gaining a better understanding of how Iran works Thomas Erdbrink of the NYT, after living there for almost two decades and marrying an Iranian made a documentary titled Our Man in Tehran. It's by far the best documentary I've seen in both explaining how Iran works and the Iranian mentality/psychosis. A good rule of thumb when reading or learning anything about Iran is "well.... not exactly but perhaps".

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