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Posts Tagged ‘Golshifteh Farahani’

Adam Driver.

Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani

“PATERSON”  My rating: A-

118 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Nothing much happens in “Paterson.”  Just life.

Turns out that’s more than enough.

The film — about a poetry-writing bus driver named Paterson who lives and works in Paterson NJ — feels like the movie Jim Jarmusch and his seriocomic minimalism have been working toward for decades.

Virtually devoid of conventional melodrama, “Paterson” is about life’s little moments. The most exciting thing that happens is a bus breakdown that forces the driver and passengers to wait at the roadside for an hour.

And yet by concentrating on the little things, the seemingly unremarkable ins and outs of just living, the deadpan hilarity of existence, Jarmusch makes a profound statement about average people living average lives.

The only other film to which I can compare Jarmusch’s latest is Bruce Beresford’s sublime “Tender Mercies,” another film that ignores “events” to observe the gentle unfolding of life.

Paterson (Adam Driver, who gets more out of less than we have any right to expect) has a routine.

Every morning he fixes breakfast and walks to the bus terminal where he climbs into a driver’s seat. Every morning his supervisor sends him off after grousing a bit about the unfairness of life.

Paterson spends his day driving around listening to the conversations of his passengers. He also seems to be a magnet for twins…identical siblings of all ages regularly cross his path.

At home he listens patiently and lovingly to the stream-of-consciousness patter of his beautiful wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), whose chiildlike eagerness defies common sense.

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** as ***

Golshifteh Farahani as Sepideh

“ABOUT ELLY” My rating: B

119 minutes | No MPAA rating

Three families share a long weekend in a rented (and rundown) villa along Iran’s Caspian coast. There’s much good-natured joking, dancing, smoking, cooking out, eating.

These individuals — old law school acquaintances who’ve done well (at least if the BMWs they drive are any indication) — are joined on their mini-vacation by two visitors.  The first is their old friend Ahmad (the charismatic Shahab Hosseini), who lives in Germany and was recently divorced. The second is Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti), who teaches the young daughter of Sepideh, one of the wives.

Without consulting anyone else Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani) has  invited the single Elly along for the weekend. Ostensibly Elly is there to watch the kids, but it doesn’t take the group long to figure out that Sepideh is playing matchmaker. Especially when she tells the manager of their rental property that Ahmad and Elly are honeymooners. (Iran’s morality police surely would frown on this arrangement, no matter how innocent it seems by Western standards.)

The first 40 or so minutes of “About Elly” — from writer/director Asghar Farhadi, who had a huge art house hit with “A Separation” — are devoted to the settling-in process. Gas and electricity must be turned on, bags unpacked, months of dust and cobwebs swept out. Ahmad and Elly take a brief drive — neither wants to talk about why they’re both there. Several times during the first afternoon, in fact, Elly tries to leave to catch a bus back to Teheran. She’s talked out of it by Sepideh.

And then one of the children nearly drowns. After the confusion and panic of his rescue and resuscitation die down, someone notices that Elly is missing.

Did she make good on her plan to return home? Was she snatched (apparently the beach has a high crime rate)? Did she try to rescue the drowning boy and herself succumb to the waves?

The police are called, a search and rescue boat dispatched.  Nothing. If Elly did indeed drown, her body will wash up within a day or two.

Talk about putting a damper on the weekend!
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