Still Life (1974 / Iran)

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Still Life (1974 / Iran)

Postby trevor826 » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:24 pm

Still Life - Tabiate bijan

Directed by Sohrab Shahid Saless

Starring Zadour Bonyadi

Imagine doing the same job your whole life, day in day out.

Mohammed Sardari, railway employee for 33 years, lives in the middle of nowhere with his wife in accommodation thats been provided with the job. Every time a train passes, day or night he has to be there to lower and raise the barriers for the crossroad.

A desolate lonely life for this husband and wife, she weaves rugs all day while the only outside conversations he has are with the little railway trucks that deliver food etc, and these tend to last about a minute.

One day he is given a letter notifying him of his imminent retirement, this is obviously beyond his comprehension and something that has never even crossed his mind!

This is the crux of this very minimalistic study, when you give your life to something, maybe someone and suddenly your not needed/wanted, youve past your sell by date, theyve had the best years of your life and now your being put out to pasture, how would you feel, where do you go, what do you do?

As the film finished you cant help but wonder, what becomes of Mohammed and his wife as they pack their meagre belongings onto a wagon!

If you enjoy the minimalist approach, sparse dialogue etc then you will really appreciate this film. It certainly makes you realise how dispensable we all are.

A minimalist masterpiece, highly recommended for those with patiance.

Cheers Trev

BBFC rating PG

Shown as part of the CinemaIran season on Channel 4 in the UK.

Re: Still Life (1974 / Iran)

Postby trevor826 » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:26 pm

Originally posted by Madhuban 18 Dec.

I have little to add to Trevor's review of Still Life. Just a few brief comments about what moved me.

Still Life - Sohrab Shahid Saless

As a term copiously used in fine arts classrooms, "still life" refers to paintings of inanimate objects. In stark contrast to Naderi's film, Wind, Water, Dust, that attributes life to inanimate objects, Saless' film empties out the life of a railway employee and his wife to make them look like inanimate objects. Rather than being reductive, Still Life is a thought-provoking study of humanity reduced to dull routine in a mechanical age. Even the occasional train that passes by has more life than that of the couple. The ultimate irony is that the crossing that Mohammad is in charge of and carefully tends to, hardly has any vehicles! Left unguarded, it would not make much of a difference. Yet, through 30 years, Mohammad's world comprises manning the crank that allows and disallows thoroughfare, and the meaning of his life has been reduced to taking care (he retains that belief) of a tiny stretch of railroad. Nothing "happens" in the film, and the letter announcing Mohammad's retirement is hardly an event. With little earthly possession and no money, retirement has none of the connotations of leisure and happiness for the elderly couple. The only moment in the film when there is a quickening of life is when Mohammad's replacement arrives to take his place, and the couple invite him to partake of their simple meal when they have no clue where their next meal is going to come from. Brilliantly shot, the film is an aching "still life" of humanity without meaning and a human world that has shrunk to and become one with a patch of rail track.


Re: Still Life (1974 / Iran)

Postby trevor826 » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:31 pm

My apologies Madhuban, I moved my comments because I knew you were going to add your thoughts. But because I have only had short bursts of free time I failed to notice you had already posted on the previous thread, I hope you don't mind that I've transfered your thoughtful composition here.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Still Life (1974 / Iran)

Postby madhuban » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:10 pm

I saw the new thread this morning and made a mental note to move my post here later in the day. You've already done that! I should be thanking you! Little free time you say, but as alert as ever



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