Category Archives: World Cinema

The European Rest Cure (1904)

The above is the US director Edwin S. Porter’s  The European Rest Cure (1904), a satire on the tourist industry. The film can also be taken as a play on the highly popular cinematic genre of the travelogue, just as can Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902.)

Anne Friedberg offers a good discussion of this film in her book Window Shopping, which I reprint below:

In Edwin S. Porter’s half-reel comedy, The European Rest Cure (1904), the narrative makes a simple point: the “rest cure” of a European “grand tour” proves to be far from restful; the “foreign” is dangerous, the familiar benign. In addition to this narrative content, the form of the film illustrates the similarities between the narrative conventions of early cinema and tourist operations.

The European Rest Cure is a thirteen-shot film that mixes actuality footage with acted fictional setups. It was a common trope for Porter to mix actuality footage with contrived narrative; of the film’s thirteen shots, six are exterior (five introductory and one concluding shot), and seven are studio tableaux. The story is designed to dissuade the traveler from exotic locales; the natural beauty of home is presented in the photographic fluidity of the exterior shots of the harbor and pier.

The tour itself is a series of claustrophobically circumscribed studio tableaux. Each shot is a stop on the “grand tour” (Kissing the Blarney Stone, Doing Paris, Climbing the Alps, Hold Up in Italy, Climbing the Pyramids of Egypt, The Mudbaths of Germany). The narrative is told as a series of “foreign” spaces, each made static and confined. The characters move left to right or right to left through interior spaces with painted backdrops. In each tableau, our tourist is thrown off balance, or falls off frame, or cowers at the center of the shot. For the spectator of the film the foreign is presented in very clumsy faux-virtual landscapes, coded in a set of familiar xenophobic clichés. Paradoxically, “home” is represented with more realistic detail – actual footage of the harbor and port and with more camera mobility. As a film that professes an antitravel message, it asserts the beauty of cinematic spectatorship as a more spectacular and fluid form of virtual mobility.

The Book You Never Read, or, London: Sympathy for a City

A song about anger and alcohol. A film about London.

The song was inspired by The Handsome Family’s ‘So Much Wine’. The visuals are inspired by Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927.)

As always I’d love to hear what you think. Enjoy!

Reading the Movies: Some Books for Cinephiles!

I’ve been asked by fellow-blogger Movieman0283 over at The Dancing Image to join him and a few others in writing a little something each on our favourite books on cinema. I don’t really know where to start so have reached for the first things on my shelves I could find that I could hold my hand on my heart and say ‘Yes, I really like this book!’ So, without further ado:

 

1. Hitchcock, by Francois Truffaut (ed.)

Photo 8The first book to get on Hitchcock and the one that you’ll keep turning back to over the years. My edition, from 1969, is a snug size that I can fit into a broad pocket – much nicer in my opinion than the clumpy A4 editions that seem to be the norm for this book at the moment. I very much like the cover design too with a vertiginous swirl distorting Hitch’s face with the left side of his face darker than the right, much like Judy’s face appears at that moment in her apartment in VertigoThis book is simply jam-packed full of ideas about filmmaking – Truffaut got a great deal out of Hitch and follows him through his whole career chronologically. His famous contrast between suspense and surprise is in here but so too is his fascinating notion of ‘saving’ the long shot, with everything in a scene (what we would typically term the ‘establishing shot’), until it can be put to a purpose. It’s also fascinating to read as a marker of its time, the mid-60s (when the interviews were done.) Truffaut and the Cahiers gang had all made films but were still young and Truffaut’s admiration for the man he clearly considers THE master of cinema is palpable. Incidentally Hitch doesn’t come across as too enthused about Chabrol and Rohmer’s portrait of him as a Catholic filmmaker in their monograph. Here are Truffaut’s words on Hitchcock at the close of his introduction:

     If in the era of Ingmar Bergman, one accepts the promise that cinema is an art form, on a par with literature, I suggest that Hitchcock belongs – and why classify him at all? – among such artists of anxiety as Kafka, Dostoevsky and Poe.

     In the light of their own doubts these artists of anxiety can hardly be expected to show us how to live; their mission is simply to share with us the anxieties that haunt them. Consciously or not, this is their way of helping us to understand ourselves, which is, after all, a fundamental purpose of any work of art. 

 

2. The Women Who Knew Too Much, by Tania Modleski

large.snazal.comThere are of course many great books on Hitchcock that I could cite here but this is one that’s certainly had an effect on me personally. Modleski basically attempts to stand between the polar opposition of perspectives on Hitchcock’s view of women – that he was a misogynist (Mulvey) or that he was a proto-feminist (Wood.) She humorously undercuts Wood’s wish to “save” Hitchcock for feminism as auteurist romanticism, making it clear that her intention is to “save” feminism for film studies (or vice-versa.) She achieves this through the close study of Hitchcock’s position on women in seven films. Modleski terms Hitch “ambivalent” about women and – similarly to Truffaut above – suggests that his talent, and more importantly his value for a feminist “reader” of his films, comes from the clarity of his expression of his anxieties about women.

 

3. Controlling Hollywood: Censorship and Regulation in the Studio Era, by Matthew Bernstein (ed.)

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The Depth of Field series is a terrific one and I could just as easily have recommended the collections on Film and Nationalism and Movies and Mass Culture in this series. These collections bring together previously published work by some of the most important academic figures on the subject. The books are very well put together and the introduction is always authoritative.


4. Parallel Tracks, by Lynne Kirby

Photo 9A book on film with a truly innovative form in its discussion on the interrelation of the railroad and cinema as twin engines of the onslaught of modernity. It’s also a joy to read combining in all the right ways history, theory and textual analysis of the movies and the railroad. The kind of book I’d love to be able to write someday… 

 

5. “Film Europe” and “Film America”: Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange 1920-1939, by Andrew Higson and Richard Maltby (eds.)

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A groundbreaking collection that takes as its starting point a small period in the late 20s and early 30s in which there was a hope that a “Film Europe” could be established, with the nations of Europe combining forces in an attempt to match and compete with Hollywood cinema’s worldwide “Imperialist” dominance of cinema screens. While this hope ultimately failed the book uses this as a means towards discussing Hollywood world-dominance in the inter-war period in a manner that is refreshingly clear of hyperbole and that goes beyond the notion of a simple, top-down hegemony. This book is full of historical details on tariffs, embargoes and contingencies and definitely not one to take with you to the beach… But it goes beyond the details of economic exchange on this subject laid out so well in Kristin Thompson’s Exporting Entertainment, putting as much emphasis on cultural exchange. It’s a difficult read but really worth the effort,  to get a strong, grounded sense of the globalism and transnationalism of cinema that was just beginning at this stage but that is now central to the medium; lest we forget that, for example, The Lord of the Rings was really a German film…

 

6. Fritz Lang in America, by P. Bogdanovich

Photo 5Fritz Lang, in my opinion, was a serious intellectual and you can learn a lot from what he had to say about his films. It’s necessary to take Lang’s specific historical details and his self-mythologising with a pinch of salt, but the essence of Lang’s views on cinema in this book are invaluable. 

 

7. The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy

Photo 11I think we all get an attachment to the specific editions of books that we’ve read, but again I prefer this edition to the regular one with a colour photo. Ok, since I’ve written quite a bit on this book on this site I’ll redirect you to this stuff, of which I’m quite proud. First there is a segment from the opening of the novel here, then there is a piece of writing on that segment and its discussion of cinema here and finally there is a follow-up piece here. It’s all quite easy to read I promise!

 

8. Hollywood Modernism, by Saverio Giovacchini

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The film still on the cover is from Confessions of a Nazi Spy (WB, 1939) the first film, as the tag-line went, that dared to ‘call a swastika a swastika.’ It’s a fascinating film that strangely, considering its historical importance, still remains completely unavailable on DVD or VHS. I have a copy of the film on the now obsolete format of the Video-CD (VCD), which is probably quite rare and seems to be the only way this film has been released. Giovacchini’s book forcefully counters the myth that Hollywood cinema, and Hollywood culture in general, of the 1930s and 40s produced only vacuous mass entertainment and was completely unwilling to discuss politics and the problems of modern society. He draws attention to heated discussions over the nature of “realism” in the 1930s and the immense national strength and influence of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. I’ve written a little about the HANL in an essay on Meet John Doe (1941) here. Giovacchini’s book is a very enjoyable read.

 

9. Time Out Film Guide 2008, by Geoff Andrew (ed)

51Pybabto8L._SS500_You’ll notice I’ve put the 2008 edition here – this is no slight on the latest edition but just the edition I happen to have; it also has a rather lovely image of Penelope Cruz that I couldn’t resist having on my site.. Anyway, the Time Out Film Guide is without a doubt the best film guide on offer in Britain – I haven’t looked at that many of the US ones but they’d have to be pretty strong to compete. It certainly seems to be the guide with the most space for World Cinema. There are no star ratings and reviews don’t generally contain synopses – instead they offer acute observations and understanding of the films discussed, crammed into very few words. Reviews do generally make it clear if the critic liked the film but are so well drawn that you can come away from a review that slammed a film with so much detail that you feel you want to see the film anyway. This happened for me, for instance, when I read the review of Gregg Araki’s Nowhere (1997), which described the film as ‘a piece of shit.’ In this instance the critic got it wrong, by the way – hardly a great film but kind of weirdly enjoyable. But I’ll repeat that generally the reviews are uncannily accurate.

 

10. The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style & Mode of Production to 1960, by David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson

coverpageI’ve been pondering over what should be my last book here and felt I couldn’t really leave this one out. Love it or hate it The Classical Hollywood Cinema is probably one of the most important books in film studies. Bordwell et al set out to define the characteristics of an “ordinary” film. Of course it is contentious to imply that Golden Age Hollywood set the “norm” for which all other kinds of cinema (0f the “World” or the “avant-garde”) become the aberration and risks simplifying matters. Yet within the specific context of mainstream American cinema, in the period of the Studio System and its “dream factory”, this model certainly has value. The research in this text is incredibly thorough and when reading through a chapter you occasionally get the sense that the information and ideas here are equivalent to the amount you’d get from reading ten other books. Bordwell’s blog on cinema Observations on film art and Film Art is also essential reading.

 

That’s as much as I have the energy for right now! By the way, they’re not in any order of greatness, of course… Please comment to let me know what you think of these choices, whether you’ve read the books or not – I love to hear what you guys think. And get reading!

My First Film: ‘A Snowman’s Dream’

A lonesome snowman sitting on Vaughan Road, West Harrow, dreams himself transported to Harrow on the Hill and watches the beautiful people playing in the snow. The song is ‘I Can See It Now’ by the Walker Brothers. Filmed on the 2nd February 2009 in Harrow, London. The film is inspired by the Lumiere Brothers and others. Enjoy!

King Vidor on European Films!

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I reprint below an interview with King Vidor on European cinema. It’s taken from Close Up, a ‘British’ film magazine written from 1927 – 1933 for an ‘international’ audience (which, of course, means Western Europe and America – copies were sold in Paris, Berlin, London, Geneva, New York and LA.) The magazine’s editor Kenneth MacPherson was British and lived in Switzerland and the magazine had foreign correspondents in each city in which it was sold, as well as in Moscow. 

Close Up is highly critical of the American dominance of the global marketplace and often displays blatant anti-Americanism – as when its editor states that ‘damp and treacly’ ‘American sentiment’ is horrible for the ‘European mind’ but is alright for Americans who are ‘naive’, ‘adolescent’ and ‘unsophisticated. Nevertheless the magazine is at the same time not uninterested in Hollywood and can also include some quite rational and interesting reflections on the relationship between European cinema(s) and Hollywood. 

Close Up didn’t need to make a profit since it was funded by MacPherson’s wealthy wife Winifred Bryher, who also funded his only film Borderline. We can therefore assume that sales to America and foreign correspondents not being necessary for commercial success, rather point to an editorial interest in American cinema culture, even if mainly as an antithesis to the great ‘art’ cinema coming from Russia and Germany. 

A particularly likable example I found is of a letter from an American reader who writes to offer Close Up ‘all the ecouragement I can in your venture’ as well as a few corrections of the magazine’s position on America. The latter include the fact that ‘Griffith is not producing much now, and we can see pictures that were shown 10-12-15 years ago’, due to the nation’s size keeping the films in circulation, a reference to Close Up‘s ambitions for cinemas in Europe that would play older films. The writer also notes that the eyelashes of Greta Garbo, who had moved to America by this point, were not sewn on, as Close Up had previously stated. 

The magazine’s interest in American cinema had a lot to do with the wish to compare or contrast it to European cinema. The interview I am reprinting below is with King Vidor and was published in Close Up in October 1928. It takes an opposing view to the mainstream position of criticising Europeans cinemas for trying to copy the Hollywood model. It seems to me that the wish to print the views of an American on the state of cinema in Europe shows a willingness to accept a multiplicity of opinions on cinema and an openness to debate. Here’s the interview in full:

*****

KING VIDOR ON EUROPEAN FILMS

 European producers, instead of competing with American films on a straight production basis, are fighting for supremacy with freak and futuristic screen experiments.

 This was the finding of King Vidor, noted director, who studied the foreign production field during his extensive trip abroad.

 “The foreign producers are more courageous and making more headway than in the past,” Vidor observed. “This progress, however, has not been from a solid foundation of sound production methods as was the development of the film industry in America.

 “There are any number of ‘little theatre’ movements to be encountered, and it is in these houses that the unique productions being made abroad are to be found. I saw one in which the entire story was told in close-ups, a daring experiment that is admirable, in effort, but scarcely to be considered anything more than a very well done novelty. Others were done along similar lines, the producer attempting to strike upon some unusual camera work or treatment as an outstanding feature.

 “All of these pioneer steps are laudable and hold much promise. They are interesting and worthy of the attempt. But as earnest competition to American films they are woefully lacking.

 “It is apparent that the foreign producers are not trying to match their products with those of American producers. They have not built up their organizations and concentrated for their actual benefit upon straight productions. They are more intent, it seems, upon a cinematic fishing expedition that might net something worth while, but in all probability will be quite unproductive.

 “In my opinion the chief fault with the foreign producing market is that they appear reluctant to invest sufficient capital in their films to make really good productions. They cannot seem to see what enormous returns they can obtain from such investments by making good pictures. These ‘arty’ efforts are splendid, and often show strokes of genius. But they will not and cannot make money. And unless pictures make enough money to justify the tremendous financial outlay the producers cannot weld together a strong organization.

 “Another thing I noticed abroad is that while films are very popular, yet there are a great number of people who seldom find time to go to the picture theatres. With this great potential audience yet to be educated to screen entertainment it would seem that the foreign production market would have a very happy opportunity to expand and enlarge upon their production methods.

 “There is plenty of room in the film field for the foreign producer. There is no cause of any jealousy on this point. Better pictures raise the standards of the entire industry regardless as to who makes them.”

 Vidor, who directed The Big Parade and The Crowd, as well as Show People, soon to be released with Marion Davies and William Haines co-starring, expressed a desire to make a film abroad.

 There are many ideal location possibilities, he said, that can only be found in Southern Europe, where many towns remain to-day as they were hundreds of years ago. Such an atmosphere, he declared, defies reproduction and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Early Ingrid Bergman at the Bfi Southbank

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A few weeks ago now (2nd January) I was lucky enough to attend screenings of two very early Swedish-language Ingrid Bergman films, at a mini-season of her films at London’s own Bfi Southbank – with my good friend Christian Hayes. One of these was The Count of the Old Town (1934/5) and seems to have been her first role, although IMDb suggests she played, uncredited, a ‘girl waiting in line’ in a film before this. At any rate it’s her first starring role, at the age of 19. Although she doesn’t seem to be quite an actress yet her star presence is there in spades; I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to see the star of Notorious (1946) at the outset, finding her feet.

I’m actually someone who came to the concept of the star persona relatively late, in that I didn’t feel it as an instinct as a child or even as a teenager: first I was fascinated simply by the stories and characters, then by the “art” of the films, focusing on the director. In my early twenties something clicked. There were stars before Ingrid but I think it was the double-whammy of her alongside Cary Grant in Notorious that did it for me. Notorious was my favourite Hitch for a long while, which had as much to do with the Ingrid/Cary combo as with Hitch.. 

In The Count of the Old Town Bergman plays a hotel maid. Our first sight of her is through a slightly ajar door, half-dressed. And this is from the point-of-view of a handsome young man who convinces her to let him hide in her room, away from the cops.

Her face really does light up the screen. Because it’s the very start of her career (as well as partly because I think ordinary films can have a tendency to do this), it feels, watching this, as though you’re getting a pure, unfiltered version of her personality.. Well anyway I took from the film a sense that although at times Bergman came across a little Joan Fontaine-insipid, her true character appeared full of tenderness and inner strength. Here’s a picture from the film that maybe illustrates this:

the_count_of_the_old_town

In many ways The Count of the Old Town is a fairly ordinary film- although it does have a number of nice, offbeat characters. It’s a little like the folksy atmosphere of a provincial Renoir picture in a way.. The eponymous Count is a drunk and hangs out with another drunk called Cucumber, so-called because this was what he used to get hold of for people on the blackmarket in a time of rationing. There’s some storyline about diamonds being stolen and the police searching for the thief, but thankfully nobody on the film seems to be paying too much attention to the plot. Instead we have a whole host of wonderful character actors filling out a lovely little movie.

The film has, really, one scene that plucks it out of the ordinary which involves our hero, again hiding from the cops, dressed in an incredible beetle-suit that covers him and has a flap covering his face that he can open, to take a look-out. The costume has words on it that say something very strange I can’t quite remember, but which seemed to serve in an obscure way to mean something along the lines of “The End is Nigh”.. We then see him chased by a cop in this beetle-suit. I really can’t explain why this was so funny and seemed so absurd. I think it had to do with the way that he actually looked like a life-sized beetle, being chased down the streets, his feet the only visible human element- it really felt like the spirit of Kafka had taken this otherwise fairly ordinary movie completely unaware. 

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The other movie we saw that night is one I highly recommend: Walpurgis Night (1935.) It stars not only Bergman but the great Victor Sjostrom – yes, another double-whammy actor movie. The film is set around the Spring Festival of the title, which comes about once a year (and which Wikipedia tells me was named, back in the 8th century, after a woman called Walpurga, who, bizarrely, hailed from Devon.) Anyway, Ingrid’s father (Sjostrom) in the film runs a newspaper and, an old romantic, insists on covering the Spring Festival rather than all the more juicy stories around about celebrities and murders. He’s weary of the falsity of the business, particularly critical of his colleagues’ pretense towards engagement with serious political issues, when they repeatedly take the side that’ll sell.

Meanwhile Ingrid is leaving her boss because she’s secretly in love with him – and he’s married. The scene is incredibly touching and the silent love between the pair is undoubtable – maintained throughout a long scene in which everything said is cosmetic alongside those impassioned looks. At times Ingrid seems really a silent movie actress – here she brings an absolutely palpable emotional impact to this scene, through her carefully nuanced movements and gestures, and her eyes. Needless to say he convinces her to come out to the Spring Festival; they’re photographed and when daddy gets shown the photo he buys it, so as to cover up the story.

The title would seem to imply the film’s status as a romantic comedy. Indeed Walpurgis Night opens with a Lubitsch-esque scene as we see a line of mothers with identical prams, one of which has newspapers in it. Cut to the newspaper office and a debate about lack of housing, which Sjostrom blames on young couples being selfish, having kids and taking all the houses! Yet the film swiftly deepens. The story is strong, touching on complex areas such as abortion and suicide with the kind of maturity rarely seen in Hollywood. But it is the performances of Ingrid and Sjostrom, their development of a constantly changing father-daughter relationship, that make the film something special. While Ingrid develops her character silently in a seamless transition from small and modest girl into poised, solemn young woman, Sjostrom gives his performance conviction through a development of his voice alongside his physical performance as a direct extension of his character’s enveloping physical rage. 

I should be headed out to a couple more Ingrid movies tonight – tho Hollywood movies this time round. I’d really love it if somewhere would show more of these early Swedish films of hers – they all sound pretty special.

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Beyond the Frame: An Introduction to Iranian Cinema

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Today I attended a lecture/seminar on Iranian cinema. It was part of a series called ‘Beyond the Frame’ currently running at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Last week was the screening of Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s The May Lady (above), from 1998. The film is quite incredible and one of the best that I had seen from this country.. For me the seminar this week was a revelation, since I have had a passion for Iranian cinema for quite a few years but have no real knowledge of the society and politics nor of the history of the nation’s cinema.. 

Here’s a few interesting tit-bits that were brought up..

It appears that the first Iranian films were made in 1900 and were films of the Iranian King of the time as he toured Belgium and France. The lecturer showed us a clip – apparently the King was ‘the one with the big moustache.’ These films were not shown in cinemas or peepshows etc but only in the palace to the King’s family.. Movies were not allowed as they were thought to taint the morals of the ordinary people.

Since I have some Armenian heritage and since there seems to be very little Armenian cinema out there – any recommendations anyone? – I was fascinated to hear that the first Iranian feature (made pretty late in 1930) was by an Armenian. Pity AAbi and Rabi is lost..

The first Iranian sound movie The Lar Girl (not lost) followed soon after in 1933. This was filmed in Persian and set and shot in India. We see a man trying to pull a woman to safety as she dangles on a rope hanging over the edge of a cliff.. Then some other guy comes and attacks him, so that every now and then while defending himself he drops the rope and has to run to grab it again.. She goes up and down – pretty thrilling stuff..

The 1950s was the beginning of Iranian cinema as an industry and that paralleled the modernisation and urbanisation within the country in general. Equipment was primitive. Documentary newsreels were made to be shown before the features. And, ha, I seem to recall something about Eisenstein feeling that images should move left to right across the screen to parallel with Russian script. It turns out the same thing was being said in Iran, where the documentarists were told to pan from right to left – as in Persian script!

Cinema became extremely popular in Iran in the 1960s – a film that was a hit was Croesus’ Treasure (1964.) There were also intellectuals making movies as part of the Iranian New Wave, many of them writers.. The female poet Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black (1963) is famous, is highly-acclaimed and is all about lepers. 1969 was the main break for the New Wave with the films The Cow and Qeysar. I’d seen The Cow before, which is pretty strange – about a man who is in love with his cow.

Qeysar had a revenge narrative – in some ways it looked a little more conventional, tho we only saw a clip of course..  It was interesting because it had a murder in a shower that seemed to me to be clearly influenced by the Hitch and Saul Bass scene in Psycho (1960.) Not as complexly cut, but attempting the sort of montage-effect that we saw there.. Specifically one shot was a cut-in to the the murdered person’s hand as it slides down the tiling and out of the shot, just as in Psycho.. The lecturer didn’t seem convinced.

Apparently TV earned the nickname ‘mullavision’ after the 1978-9 Cultural Revolution, since every time the telly was turned on you’d see a Mullah. A cinema was burned down, in which 300 people died.. Cinema was likened to ‘prostitution’ by the new clergy.

‘Islamic Cinema’ was defined by negation – among policies one included that it be ‘neither East nor West.’ The 1982 censorship regulations were very strict. They prohibited films which would lower the taste of the audience, which our lecturer suggested would be pretty useful all around the world. Emphasis here was put on improving production and artistic values which helped to develop Iranian cinema in an auteurist direction, putting the emphasis on directors and writers over actors. But the main point was to effect an Islamization of the country..

There was more I’m sure, which I may perhaps come back to.. tho I’ve done most of it I think. I’ve left out all the details of censorship since I’m sure you can find that elsewhere! Since I was more familiar with the more recent stuff, as will others of you, this doesn’t seem so essential to detail, to me.

Well, just to note about female filmmakers – it appears that before the Revolution there were only three female filmmakers who made one film each. Some point a little while after the Revolution there were many.. It appears many women were getting a good education – an odd stat the lecturer quoted was that 65% of those at university were women. I wondered if I got this wrong and asked him why it seemed that there were more educated women than men in this period. He seemed to misunderstand the question, at least I don’t think he gave an answer, so if anyone out there has any idea it’s something I’d love to know!?

One interesting element that the lecturer brought up from The May Lady was that it contains interesting examples of visual trickery used to avoid censorship. E.g. Since characters that are members of a family are not supposed to touch at all, for fear of giving the appearance of incest, we have at one point, in a darkened room, the son put a blanket around his mother; he holds the blanket in such a way that it looks as tho he is touching her and there is no blanket.. it’s done pretty well..

The strange thing is that this film about a 17-yr-old son who is so attached to his mother that he won’t let her have a relationship with another man is full of stuff which seemed to me deeply incestuous! Censorship has no reason nor rhyme of course.. Admittedly, my impression here may also be in part perhaps due to my not fully understanding the cultural dynamics of the mother-son relationship in Iran.. At one point, for example, we hear of a different son who has sold his mother’s house! The son must have inherited the house from a father who has passed away I assume, as I guess the law prescribes in this heavily patriarchal society..

I’d love to sit here and write my own thoughts about this movie but my bed is calling me, and I know if I start on that I’ll never finish! This is longer than I’d intended anyway.. Good night!