Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Mania Akbari, Amin Maher, Kamran Adl, Roya Arabshahi, Amene Moradi
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
World-renowned Iranian writer-director Abbas Kiarostami (TASTE OF CHERRY, THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES) has created a deceptively simple work?shot on digital video within the confines of a single vehicle?that brings the intrica... more »
A dialogue-heavy kiarostami film. brilliant.
Nima Saalabi | Newark, California | 10/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was brilliant. one camera. one car. one women, ten passengers. nothing important can occur huh? dead wrong. this movie is thorough examination of our lives. to forestall criticism, yes it was shot on low budget digital, however, this is fairly irrelevant for the style of films kiarostami makes (for one he never wants to dazzle the viewer with the beauty of images, he uses images more like an antonioni does, to create visceral multitextured symbols, and second, in ten there are no long shots of nature at all). This movie focuses in on the incredible psychological and interpersonal complexities of the daily life of one iranian woman. although it is in that sense a 'glimpse into iran', I believe the message of the movie is more universal, as this type of complexity exists everywhere. and again, while the woman is an incredibly strong female character in a society that does not treat women incredibly well (although much better than anything the taliban did), the movie is more universal than simply a political attack on iranian patriarchy. Here we have a camera that practically never moves, focused in on the people speaking to each other in a car, creating the quite real sense that one is trapped in the car with them unable to get away from their endless verbal confusions, miscommunications, attempts at control, manipulation, communication, bursts of anger, joy, exasperation, banality, calmness, and so on. This is sartres no exit in a moving car. it is beckett in iran. however, (not to take anything away from either of the two), the language here is comletely natural, organic, and unforced. the central dialogue is between mom and son. The kid comes off as incredibly expressive and intelligent, forcefully and stubbornly articulating his philosophy of life not in abstract terms but in terms of the minutia of everyday existence as he tries to wring some freedom for himself from his mother. his mother, equally strong and stubborn, tries every trick known to man to keep this kid in line with what is in her own interests. what ostensibly is a normal conversation slowly devolves into a complex multilayered confusion that one may lose ones wits trying to keep up with. but this, if we are honest, is the stuff of all our lives. doubtless people will see this as a glimpse into iran. i hope for that reason they will not forget to apply the lessons to themselves, as privilidged glimpses notwithstanding, humanities intelligence, forcefull articulation, power-struggles and miscommunications in daily communion, should be fairly familiar to everyone. A final note, while I have focused on the 2 mother-son dialogues, as these were the most interesting for me, there are indeed 8 other conversations(hence the title, 10.)Some may find the others more interesting. Finally, a note of warning. while many of the themes are lofty, kiarostami does not dwell in making lofty themes in lofty ways, he gets across lofty themes about how persons relate to eath other by analysis of the intricate interstices of, in this case, daily conversations. so if you're expecting lots of hollywood sound and fury, this may not be the film for you. however, if you're interested in family dynamics, power-struggles and confusions in the interpersonal realm, phenomenology, existentialism, postmodern critique of psychology, or just a non-academic interest in the complexities of human communication, then this movie is for you. but kiarostami does not shove it in your face. and this is what makes the movie truly great. the drama is there, but you have to become an integral part of the movie yourself to see the drama. kiarostami in a sense gives you a scene with natural drama without making it a 'dramatic scene'. he brings up lofty themes in that their are lofty themes in everyday conversation. but he does not tell you 'this is a lofty them, pay attention now', rather, he just shows you the everyday conversations, and leaves it up to the viewer to take out what he or she feels is important in it. I find this an intellectually and emotionally rewarding task to engage in in any kiarostami movie, but particularly this one. I hope others enjoy this film as much as i did."
Cinema at its best
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 12/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In addition to providing an important window on Iran, that should challenge any stereotypes that may be held by Westerners about this country that figures so frequently in the news of late, this film is really a remarkable and powerful film, by one of today's most important filmmakers -- Abbas Kiarostami compares very favorably in my mind with the great Auteur directors of the 60's and 70's, such as Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, Godard, Truffaut.
This film is an instance where the truism that less is more really fits. There are two camera angles in this film: medium shot of the driver and medium shot of the passenger. As Kiarostami explains in his very worthwhile set of lessons on filmmaking "Ten on Ten" (included on this disc), this camera angle is both extremely simple and very versatile. It is perfect for enabling a character to engage in dialogue that is not artificial -- because it is natural for a character to speak facing forward when he or she is in the car, and because effectively it sets the viewer in the other seat. It also allows the viewers to focus on the main characters of the film, and allows the director to create a scenario for these characters, while at the same time allowing for the unpredictable and unplanned to take place in the background, outside of the window.
While the characters in the film are not actors, they perform their roles extremely well. As Kiarostami explains (drawing upon, I think, an idea first put forward by Bazin) anybody is capable of playing perfectly a single role for film: the part of themselves. The director enters the picture by setting up conditions under which the characters are free to play this role, without it seeming artificial, at the same time as they fulfil a larger objective demanded by the film as a whole.
I really admire directors, like Kiarostami and Bresson and Tarkovsky, who set up for themselves rigorous principles and adhere to them in the interest of portraying something that transcends what they could put into the film by themselves. While sometimes the result can be more interesting than entertaining, I find that Kiarostami's films tend both to be enjoyable as well as stimulating. This is certainly the case with "Ten" (and I would also recommend "The Taste of Cherry" and "Close-up" and "ABC Africa" by the same director)."
Another Skilled Screenplay
MonaLisa | Cyberspace | 02/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ten on Ten expresses humanity in its rawest form , an animal all too familiar for Mr. Abbas Kiarostami . In this case humanity was an improvisational story told through the daily life a single mother while driving . Picking up family members , friends , and strangers in her car while passing the time talking of life's short comings , the main character is sure to reach beyond the boundaries of the screen and touch the heart of ever individual watching . Each character , oozing with personality , riding in her car captures her imagination . As liberal as that imagination is , still she finds herself experimenting with the strengths and faults of each character .
At the end of the day , however , she never looses sight of her inherent existentialistic threads and metaphorically sighs relief each time a passenger leaves the vehicle . Beware , though , this film is sure to leave you hungry for more Abbas Kiarostami ...
But the question remains: was this film a premeditated thought or was it improvision at its best ?"