On this edition of the podcast, J. Robert Parks and I talk about Abbas Kiarostami's Homework, an Iranian film made in 1989. The film has played recently in Toronto, New York, and San Francisco as part of an extensive Kiarostami retrospective, but it's playing in a severely edited version that's quite different from Kiarostami's original. How different? Well, that takes some explaining.
But, otherwise, the retrospective has been a rare opportunity to see some great movies, and the Pacific Film Archive has gone to great lengths to show all of Kiarostami's films, including early shorts and features that aren't subtitled and therefore require a makeshift solution for displaying English translations. I've caught up with some features that I'd only seen on video and some others that I'd never seen at all.
My favorite of the shorts is Orderly or Disorderly?, a film that begins like a children's instructional message seeking to demonstrate proper, and improper, behavior in various situations: getting a drink from the fountain, boarding the school bus, exiting a building via the stairway. But eventually the orderly structure of the film completely breaks down. "This isn't orderly," says Kiarostami's voice behind the camera, perched over a chaotic traffic intersection.
The third episode of the Errata podcast features a chat with Werner Herzog about Rescue Dawn, Grizzly Man, The White Diamond, and other films.
A choice quote:
Sometimes I do discover footage that is amazing and nobody sees the deep poetry in it, and you can somehow make it emerge together in context with other images, texts, acting, and music.
Another choice quote:
Contrary to the belief that I am a daredevil and I'm taking impossible risks — not so. I'm the most cautious about risks. No actor ever got injured in any of my films. And I'm very good when it comes to assessment of risks.
From the Times of London:
A former Khmer Rouge prison chief who oversaw the torture and killings of 17,000 people was charged with crimes against humanity by Cambodia’s UN-backed tribunal today, in the most decisive step yet towards bringing those responsible for the country’s genocide to justice.
In the 1970s, Kang Kek Ieu, aka "Duch," ran the notorious S21 prison that's featured in Rithy Panh's excellent documentary S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, and one of the central questions of the film is whether or not the people responsible for building and oiling that machine would ever be brought to justice. Nearly three decades after the Khmer Rouge fell, the markedly slower machine that administers such justice has finally begun to spew some steam.