Saturday, November 24, 2012

AIFF 2012: Take Saturday Morning Tour to Iran, India (Calcutta), and France

You can book a package tour to many exotic places around the world. For $2500 - $20,000 plus airfare, you will be shown the sights of anywhere in the world. Or, for $8, you can go to the Alaska Experience Theater at 11 am and go on four intimate trips - about 20 minutes each. And remember, exotic just means some place you've never been. After all, most people in the world think that Alaska is exotic.

Really, these four films will take you on adventures that are much better than staying home cleaning the bathroom or wasting even more time on the internet. (Don't deny it.  After all, you're here.  Justify your time here by going to a movie.) And when the program is done there's still time to see if the ski trails are decent enough to use. And unlike the many package tours that will cost you thousands of dollars, this short tour will take you inside the lives of people you would never meet on a tour.

SATURDAY, DEC. 1, 2012  

The tour goes again on SUNDAY DEC. 9, 2012 11:15 AM.  Same location.  


First the tour will take you to Iran, 1959. If you saw Argo, you saw a brief overview of the CIA overthrow of the first democratically elected leader in Iran - Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Six years later, under house arrest, he's ill. An American doctor comes to care for him. Is this his assassin? Directed by a USC film student of Iranian descent, the film offers an immigrant's view of the events. And Voice of America has a couple of interviews, broadcast in Farsi (I assume) about the film.  Check their website.

Calcutta Taxi

Next go wildly through Calcutta trying to find the taxi that went off with your luggage.  (The trailer hints this is just a metaphor for seeking much bigger things.)  Oh yes, there are demonstrations going on at the same time.  I can't find too much about this one.  It looks like the film maker is an Indian-Canadian.  Based on the trailer, you'll definitely go places you'd never go as a tourist.  To get ready, here's a deleted scene they have on the website of a street vendor making Indian cha.   India with no visa and no shots.

Naagahaan, Zinat… (Suddenly, Zinat…)

Back to Iran.  Today.  The Anchorage audience will feel at home in Teheran as the camera briefly catches the snow covered mountains surrounding Iran's capital.  I think most people will also be suprised at how much the Iranian middle class life compares to ours, at least in terms of consumer goods.  Not as ostentatious, but not so different.  A poor drug addict visits a middle class mother to claim the baby she gave up for adoption seven or eight years ago.  This film was made, from what I can tell, in Iran, by Iranians.  Americans should see more films from Iran so they can realize we have way more in common than not.  There's an interview with the film maker here and the whole fim itself is posted


Finally, we head to Paris.  A thriller it looks like.  You can see Gilles Guerraz, the film maker's, pitch (with English subtitles) at what appears to be a French version of Kickstarter.  The trailer shows a beautiful woman disappearing around corners and into alleys and a man who doesn't remember something important, except that he has a feeling for this woman he keeps seeing.

When was the last time you got to Teheran?  Or Calcutta?  Or Paris?  (I think Lapse was shot in Paris, but that's just a guess.)  Well, do them all next Saturday (Dec. 1)  morning at 11 am at the Alaska Experience Theater.  The whole package for just $8.  There's a second tour a week later Sunday, Dec. 8. 

Here's the Film Festival link to this group of films titled "Native Tongue."   Yes, it's true, if you don't speak Farsi or French or Bengali you'll have to read subtitles, though the first two have some English spoken.  It's the price you have to pay to see grown up films that weren't made in the US.  (Well, the first one was. All this categorization gets confusing.)

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