Jody Aloysius Crackstar (ericpoptone) wrote in world_cinema,
Jody Aloysius Crackstar

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Crimson Gold

This may be Jafar Panahi's best film yet. It was written by Abbas Kiarostami and concerns a pizza delivery guy/pick-pocket who butts heads with condescending richie riches, bureaucrats and depression without ever cracking a smile. The film begins with him shooting himself in the skull during a robbery and then shows us the events leading up to it. The protagonist, Hussein, is played by a real life schizophrenic pizza delivery guy I learned after watching it but was totally riveted by his performance.
The mix of Panahi and Kiarostami's talents and styles works so well. It's less didactic than some of Panahi's stuff but typically colorful and dark. As in a lot of Kiarostami films, a significant chunk of the action involves driving (in this case a motorcyle) around the streets of Tehran but doesn't have any of Kiarostami's normal redemption, uplift of self-reflexivity.
One of the only slightly humorous scenes occurs when Hussein gets blind drunk in the apartment of a wealthy Iranian-American wherein he makes himself at home per his hosts request, swimming in his pool fully clothed then taking in the sights of the Tehran's skyline at night. The lights flicker, the stars twinkle, cars hiss quietly for what seems like several minutes and then Hussein lets rip a violent belch. Other than that, the film is so bleak that it's almost humorous. I don't like to compare filmmakers much but Crimson Gold is like watching Takeshi Kitano playing Strozseck. Sorry, I had to do it. Somewhere Ian Curtis watched it and hanged himself all over again.
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