Thursday, December 18, 2008

president bir qanbar

we just saw this movie on link tv. it is iranian, a documentary, though not a "pure" one. the director posed and arranged things.

it follows two men. one of them is running for parliament; the other is helping him. the former has run several times, (and for president, too) and has never come close. he has no money, but quixotically bikes about the countryside with a bullhorn. his friend and sidekick helps him. the director planted the red victory flag on the candidate's bicycle to make it more visually appealing in the dusty, cloudy landscape.

the technique i like best in the film is what i think of as a "moving portrait." he sets up the camera on several people and lets it run. periodically new people come in, or people shift places. he edits it so it appears time-elapsed: people appear and disappear instantaneously. he shrinks a long process into a shorter time.

he introduced qanbar's family. he is old, so it was his wife and kids and grandkids. he stood qanbar and wife, in her long veil, in front of a wall outside their house. then a woman appears at his side. then a man at her side. and one by one, more people appearing. and as they wait they shift, they move about, pat their hair or hitch up their pants, talk to each other. it is really a magical appearing, endearing and real, but not unstaged or unposed. then we see the old man with his back turned and fingers in his ears, as each person talks about him and his chances. the youngest granddaughter says, 'he always brings me things when he visits. i would definitely vote for him." her older sister is very objective. "he is very good, but is he best for the presidency? maybe he would make a good PM." etc.

i remember the director of the movie on pinochet's torture victims did a simpler version of this moving portrait. he had everyone already arranged, and then let the camera play over them slowly. i like it a lot.

the movie makes one want to own a donkey. qanbar rides one across a river. their ears switch about above their big eyes.

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